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Chaco National Park - BirdForum Opus


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South America, Argentina

Overview

The Chaco area is a vast lowland district in the north-central to north-west part of Argentina. It is largely flat, and consists of scrublands, savanna, swamps, rivers, and small lakes. Much of it is dry, and hot in the summer. The National Park has an area of 150 km² (15,000 hectares, or 37,500 acres). It was created in 1954 in order to protect a sample of the Eastern Chaco, composed mainly of warm lowlands, with an annual summer rainfall between 750 and 1,300 mm. The area includes several environments: scrubland, savanna, swamps, and small lakes. The scrubland is the habitat of the red quebracho, the white quebracho, the algarrobo, and the lapacho (all of these commercially valuable species). The fauna also includes the carayá monkey.

Indigenous communities of the Mocoví and Toba peoples are found in the protected area.

Birds

340 species.

Notable Species

Many woodpeckers, marsh birds, woodcreepers, and parrots. Substantial populations of marsh birds, especially when rain has filled the marshes. These include herons, storks, limpkins, screamers, egrets, etc. Many species of raptor, including snail kites and bat kites.

Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

To do

Other Wildlife

Mammals: Howler Monkey, Carayá Monkey, Capibara, Armadillo, Tapir, Viscacha, Puma, Huron, Collared Peccary, misc. rodents, puma, and many others.
Reptiles & Amphibians: turtles, frogs, lizards, Yacarés (the local equivalent of alligators).

Site Information

History and Use

Chaco National Park was created in 1954 to protect a sample of the Eastern Chaco, composed mainly of warm lowlands, with an annual summer rainfall between 750 and 1,300 mm. This park represents a small, last contiguous quebarcho forest, which once covered the north of Santa Fe Province, the western half of Chaco Province, and the northeaster corner of Corrientes Province. This forest was cleared over the 20th-century for wood and tannin, leaving what is now primarily cattle-grazing pastures.

Areas of Interest

There are several good hiking trails, and a road loop leading to some seasonal marshes/lakes. These have small shaded, elevated observation towers. After a dry spell, the lakes and marshes may decline to grassland. Then the species that depend on open water will have moved on, but there will still be excellent birding.

Access and Facilities

Location

North-central Argentina in Chaco Province, near the northern border of the Esteros del Ibera. A very reasonable side trip from that reserve, or from Iguazu Falls. It could be reached in a long day from Buenos Aires. Best access is via highway 16, a major east-west road in the north-central part of the country. Approximately 60km west of the city of Resistencia, turn north at La Escondidaon a more minor, but good paved road. Continue to the small village of Capitán Solari, where there are signs leading to the park. The last 5km are not paved, and may be impassable in a standard 2-wheel drive passenger car in wet conditions.

Facilities include a large treed area where free camping is permitted on the grass. Unheated showers and toilets in two buildings. Park headquarters are here, with resident rangers to provide information to visitors. The camping area provides some of the best birding in the park, since it is free of underbrush that makes travel elsewhere impossible, except on the roads and paths.

Capitán Solari has basic food supplies, but is small and rustic. It would be advisable to stock up on whatever you'll need for a stay in the park in a major town on the way; Corrientes and Resistencia are both full-service cities.

Contact Details

Parque Nacional Chaco: Tel. (03725)-499161. E-mail [email protected]
Northeast Regional Office: Tel. (03757) - 421984 / 422906. E-mail [email protected]

External Links

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