Republic of Paraguay

Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis ©Ben Tavener - Creative Commons Website
Birding Paraguay

Sandwiched between the giants of the continent, Argentina to the south, Brazil to the east and Bolivia to the north, Paraguay has become “South America’s forgotten corner”. Centuries of political instability, poor infrastructure and a general fear of the unknown have led to the country becoming seriously under-watched in ornithological terms, a trend that has continued into the modern day, even though the country is now one of the friendliest, cheapest, safest and most traditional on the continent. Ironically, this neglect at the hands of birders and researchers alike today renders Paraguay amongst the most exciting places to bird in the South America. Little is known about the country’s avifauna, and regular birders are so few in numbers that every trip brings with it the promise of new and exciting discoveries.

Located in the heart of the continent where five major biomes meet, this compact country offers the possibility to rack up a large list in a short trip and without having to spend hours on the road. Though there are no country endemics, Paraguay is packed with regional endemics. This is the place to go to see threatened local specialities such as White-winged Nightjar, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Vinaceous Amazon, Black-fronted Piping-Guan and Saffron-cowled Blackbird which have all but disappeared from the rest of their respective ranges.

For many visitors the desolate Chaco is the big draw, a thorny, dusty region that remains the best place to see large mammals on the continent – everything from Jaguar and Tapir to the ‘living fossil’ Chaco Peccary, a creature known only from fossil remains until its remarkable discovery in the Paraguayan Chaco in 1976! The eastern part of the Chaco is a humid region that actually forms part of the Pantanal, difficult to get to but unlike the Brazilian Pantanal unspoilt by the excesses of tourism. Famed for vast flocks of water-birds that gather in the flooded palm savannas here, it is also one of the world’s most reliable sites for the elusive Giant Otter.

Most of the human population lives in eastern Paraguay – the Orient – where infrastructure is rather better. However more people means more pressure on natural habitats and Paraguay is no different from anywhere else in South America when it comes to loss of habitat. That said eastern Paraguay still harbours large blocks of largely unexplored Atlantic Forest, amongst the most endangered habitats on earth and with extraordinarily high levels of regional endemism. The Bare-necked Bellbird, Paraguay’s national bird remains numerous here, and other spectacular and rare Atlantic Forest endemics that can be surprisingly easy to find include Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets and Helmeted Woodpecker – a bird so little known that it was until recently considered South America’s equivalent of the legendary Ivory-billed Woodpecker!

The northern Orient constitutes the southern extension of the vast Cerrado region, the great South American savannas. This is a great place to seek out mysterious local specialities such as Cock-tailed Tyrant (still common in many areas), Reiser’s Tyrannulet, Planalto Foliage-Gleaner and Paraguay’s biggest draw the endangered White-winged Nightjar. Of the three known localities for this species on earth, two are found within the country’s boundaries making it the best and easiest place to see this sought after species.

Travel around Paraguay can be difficult, public transport links the major urban areas but off the beaten track you will need your own 4×4 vehicle to get around. Furthermore much of the country’s territory is in private hands requiring prior written permission to visit. With so few tourists accommodation, away from the major cities, is basic whilst the chances of bumping into another tourist away from the capital city are extremely slim – which all adds up to an adventurous and exciting experience. To get the most out of your visit it is recommended that you visit with an expert guide. However with a modern English-language field guide now in production and more and more people beginning to see Paraguay as a new and exciting eco-tourism destination, the future looks bright both for Paraguay and its spectacular wildlife!

Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 694

    (As of May 2019)
Checklist

  • Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Areas Importantes para la Conservación de las Aves del Paraguay

    | (Important Bird Areas for Conservation in Paraguay) | Edited by: RP Clay, JL Cartes, H Del Castillo & A Lesterhuis | GUYRA Paraguay | 2008 | Hardback | 470 pages, Figures, tables, colour photos| Spanish | ISBN: 9789995384821 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Atlas de las Aves del Paraguay

    | (Atlas of the Birds of Paraguay) | By Hugo del Castillo & Robert P Clay | GUYRA Paraguay | 2005 | Paperback | 212 pages, distribution maps | Spanish | ISBN: 9789992586839 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Guía Para la Identificación de las Aves de Paraguay

    | (Identification Guide to the Birds of Paraguay) | by Tito Narosky & Dario Yzurieta | GUYRA Paraguay | 2006 | Paperback | 239 pages, 1500 colour illustrations, colour distribution maps | Spanish | ISBN: 9789879132135 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Guía de Nidos de Aves del Paraguay

    | (Birds of Paraguay Eggs & Nests) | By Martín R de la Peña | GUYRA Paraguay | 2010 | Paperback | 696 pages, colour photos & b/w line drawings throughout | Spanish | ISBN: 9789995384845 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
  • National bird

    Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis
Museums & Universities
  • Museo Mariposas del Mundo

    Website
    The current panorama is not very encouraging, neither in the world environment, nor in the national environment: effect hothouse, destruction of the ozone layer, increase of the forest fires, shortage and contamination of the hydric resources, climatic changes, bad distribution of alimentary resourses, extinction of vegetable and animal species, etc. Logically, all these phenomenons impact in a direct or indirect way, but negatively, on thediversity or biodiversity biological (word very useful at the moment) of our planet
Organisations
  • Fundacion Moises Bertoni (FMB)

    Facebook Page
    The WBF works in an innovative way for sustainable development, through the conservation of nature with social responsibility and the active participation of the population.
  • GUYRA Paraguay

    Website
    The BirdLife partner in Paraguay. GUYRA PARAGUAY Association is a civil society non-profit organization that works in the defense and protection of the biological diversity of our country and the organized action of the population, in order to ensure the necessary living space so that future generations can know representative samples of the natural wealth of Paraguay.
  • Para La Tierra - Conservation in Paraguay

    Website
    WeWe’re dedicated to conserving fragile habitats in Paraguay through scientific research, community engagement, and environmental education. Our field sites stretch from the wetlands of Ñeembucú to the deep Atlantic Forest of Alto Parana, including all the river systems, marshes, and Chaco regions in between.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NR San Rafael Reserve of Manageable Resources

    InformationSatellite View
    The area is considered the “most important bird area” because 392 species of birds have been identified in the reserve, including the campana bird (bell bird, the national bird of Paraguay) and the chopí saiyú.
  • Paraguay's National Parks

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Site Names & Locations
  • Ramsar Wetlands in Paraguay

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Paraguay currently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 785,970 hectares. Interactive map of sites.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • AvesParaguay

    Mailing List
    FAUNA Paraguay runs an online listserver (AVESPARAGUAY) dealing specifically with Paraguayan ornithology that allows you to keep up to date with all the latest happenings in the field. Subsciption is free and easy
Guides & Tour Operators


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Fauna Paraguay

    Tour Operator
    FAUNA Paraguay, the biggest information archive on Paraguayan Natural History on the web. We offer Wildlife and Birdwatching Tours in Paraguay, a huge image gallery of Paraguayan animals, volunteer schemes in Paraguay, and a mountain of information about Paraguay the country. If its birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians or insects that you are interested in then check out what Paraguay has to offer! You won
  • Wildlife Tours Paraguay

    Tour Operator
    This company was created as the result of a great passion for nature and wildlife, to develop ecological research and to promote the conservation of important ecosystems in Paraguay.
Trip Reports


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • 2010 [10 October] - Matt Denton

    PDF Report
    … We saw all of the Chaco big six: Black-bodied Woodpecker, Black-legged Seriema, Chaco Owl, Quebracho Crested Tinamou, Crested Gallito and Spot-winged Falconet; a fantastic selection of nightbirds that included Long-tailed Potoo, Tawny-browed Owl, White-winged and Sickle-winged Nightjars, and Ocellated Poorwill; superb grassland flycatchers with fancy tails of all sorts such as Streamer-tailed, Strange-tailed, Cock-tailed, and Sharp-tailed Tyrants along with other Mesopotamian grassland species such as Giant Snipe, Ochre-breasted Pipit and Saffron-cowled Blackbird….
  • 2012 [10 October] - Paul Smith

    PDF Report
    …With 407 birds, 27 mammals and 13 species of reptiles recorded, this year’s Paraguay trip, Birdquest ́s second, smashed all the previous records. Persistently overlooked by visitors, the "Forgotten Heart of South America", is a place where only adventurous birders dare to tread, and always leave very glad that they did…
  • 2014 [10 October] - Jon Lehmberg

    PDF Report
    ... The area is an important stop-over for many migrating waterbirds, and we saw lots of waders, ducks, swans, herons, storks and flamingos here. We also found other interesting species like Chaco Earthcreeper, the beautiful White Monjita, Olive-crowned Cresent-Chest and of course Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper which, for some of us, was one the favourite birds of the entire trip...
  • 2015 [10 October] - Pete Morris

    PDF Report
    ...Pride of place went to the confiding chaco formof Olive-crowned Crescentchest which allowed marvellous views, but the supporting cast wasn’t too bad! Amazing terrestrial Scimitar-billed Woodcreepers strutted their stuff like hoopoes, raucous Chaco Chachalacas showed well, Cinereous Tyrants perched on bush tops, and other pre-breakfast goodies included Great and Barred Antshrikes, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Greater Wagtail-Tyrants, subtle Southern Scrub-Flycatchers, Plain Inezias, Black-capped Warbling Finches and a fine male Ultramarine Grosbeak...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Hervé & Noëlle Jacob

    PDF Report
    ...Good birds were Bolivian Slaty-antshrike, Black-bellied Antwren before the abandonned house, and Azara's Night Monkeys and Dusky Titis. From the viewpoint we saw Bicolored and Crane Hawk...
  • 2017 [October] - Paul Smith

    PDF Report
    Crakes would be something of a theme on this trip, and we started off with a belter in the pouring rain, the much sought after Grey-breasted Crake. Then it was off to the arid, thorny Chaco where we were charmed by endemics such as Black-legged Seriema, Chaco Owl, Quebracho-crested Tinamou and Dinelli’s Doradito; Helmeted Woodpecker, Bare-throated Bellbird, Blackish-blue Seedeater and Russet-winged Spadebill were amongst the stars as the birds came thick and fast in the Atlantic Forest; White-winged Nightjar, Collared Crescentchest and Cock-tailed Tyrant made sure the Cerrado lived up to its burgeoning birding reputation; and Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Giant Snipe, Iberá Seedeater, and Strange-tailed Tyrant rounded off our time in the Mesopotamian grasslands in the south of the country.
Other Links
  • Fauna Paraguay

    Website
    FAUNA Paraguay has been conceived as a virtual, online community dedicated to the magnificent Paraguayan fauna. For a brief summary of what this site offers see the site map at the bottom of this page. Like Paraguay itself this website is a constantly changing environment that will be updated regularly and benefit immensely from the input of its users.
Photographers & Artists
  • Gallery - Fauna Paraguay

    Gallery
    Growing picture 'database' for ALL the fauna of Paraguay and ambitious and exciting project

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