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Esteros del Ibera - BirdForum Opus

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Sunset at Esteros del Ibera.
Photo by mocosita

South America, Argentina


In the heart of Corrientes province and 1000 kilometres north of Buenos Aires you will find Esteros del Ibera, the great marshlands of Argentina (also called the Pantanal of Argentina). The nature reserve, founded in the year 1983, covers over 13,000 km2 of marshes, lakes and islands.

In the year 2002 Esteros del Ibera was put on the list of reserves of fresh water systems by the Ramsar convention, especially because of the area's unique biodiversity and the multitude of endangered plants, birds and wildlife. Over 350 species of birds can be found in the Ibera.


Notable Species

To do


Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Red-crested Cardinal, Yellow Cardinal, Black-capped Donacobius, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Jabiru, Black and White Monjita, Pearly-bellied Seedeater, Chestnut Seedeater, Dark-throated Seedeater, Marsh Seedeater, Rusty-collared Seedeater, Tawny-bellied Seedeater, Morelet's Seedeater, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Strange-tailed Tyrant, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, White Woodpecker.


Birds you can see here include:

Greater Ani, Crested Becard, Brown Cacholote, Black-capped Donacobius, Smooth-billed Ani, Green-backed Becard, Golden-winged Cacique, Crested Doradito, Anhinga, Eared Dove, Solitary Black Cacique, Warbling Doradito, Great Antshrike, White-winged Becard, Chimango Caracara, Yellow-headed Caracara, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Pinnated Bittern, Crested Caracara, Variable Antshrike, Least Bittern, Chaco Chachalaca, Picui Ground-Dove, Stripe-backed Bittern, Red-crested Cardinal, Rock Dove, Chestnut-capped Blackbird, Yellow Cardinal, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Chopi Blackbird, Yellow-billed Cardinal, White-tipped Dove, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, White-winged Coot, Brazilian Duck, Unicolored Blackbird, Neotropic Cormorant, Comb Duck, White-browed Blackbird, Grayish Baywing, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Screaming Cowbird, Lake Duck, Bobolink, Shiny Cowbird, Muscovy Duck, Lark-like Brushrunner, Ash-throated Crake, White-faced Whistling Duck, Yellow-breasted Crake, Red-and-white Crake, Rufous-sided Crake, Ash-colored Cuckoo, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Guira Cuckoo, Squirrel Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Aplomado Falcon, Azure Gallinule, Cinereous Harrier, Chaco Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Common Gallinule, Long-winged Harrier, Western Cattle Egret, Red-crested Finch, Purple Gallinule, Bay-winged Hawk, Great Egret, Lesser Grass-Finch, Spot-flanked Gallinule, Bicolored Hawk, Snowy Egret, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Firewood-Gatherer, Black-collared Hawk, Large Elaenia, Great Pampa-Finch, Masked Gnatcatcher, Blue-black Grassquit, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Long-tailed Reed-Finch, Great Grebe, Crane Hawk, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Black and Rufous Warbling Finch, Least Grebe, Great Black Hawk, Purple-throated Euphonia, Black-capped Warbling Finch, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-backed Hawk, Grassland Yellow-Finch, White-tufted Grebe, Roadside Hawk, Saffron Yellow-Finch, Indigo Grosbeak, Savanna Hawk, Field Flicker, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Swainson's Flycatcher, Dusky-legged Guan, Swainson's Hawk, Variegated Flycatcher, Gray-hooded Gull, White-tailed Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black-crowned Night Heron, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Bran-colored Flycatcher, Striated Heron, Brown-crested Flycatcher, White-necked Heron, Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, Whistling Heron, Euler's Flycatcher, Rufous Hornero, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Short-crested Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Suiriri Flycatcher, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Bare-faced Ibis, Tropical Kingbird, Southern Lapwing, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird, Buff-necked Ibis, Amazon Kingfisher, Limpkin, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, Plumbeous Ibis, American Kestrel, Brown-chested Martin, White-faced Ibis, Green Kingfisher, Gray-breasted Martin, Wattled Jacana, Ringed Kingfisher, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Jabiru, Great Kiskadee, White-banded Mockingbird, Plush-crested Jay, Gray-headed Kite, Black and White Monjita, Purplish Jay, Plumbeous Kite, Black-crowned Monjita, Snail Kite, Gray Monjita, Swallow-tailed Kite, White Monjita, White-tailed Kite, Common Nighthawk, Variable Oriole, Black-hooded Parakeet, Nacunda Nighthawk, Crested Oropendola, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Barn Owl, Monk Parakeet, Band-winged Nightjar, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, White-eyed Parakeet, Little Nightjar, Burrowing Owl, Turquoise-fronted Parrot, Rufous Nightjar, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Scaly-headed Parrot, Sickle-winged Nightjar, Great Horned Owl, Cobalt-rumped Parrotlet, Spotted Nothura, Short-eared Owl, Tropical Parula, Striped Owl, Pauraque, Tropical Screech Owl, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, White-barred Piculet, Picazuro Pigeon, Spot-winged Pigeon, Yellow-billed Pintail, Correndera Pipit, Hellmayr's Pipit, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Short-billed Pipit, Yellowish Pipit, White-tipped Plantcutter, Collared Plover, Rosy-billed Pochard, Common Potoo, Giant Wood-Rail, Golden-billed Saltator, Bearded Tachuri, Red-eyed Vireo, Plumbeous Rail, Bluish-gray Saltator, Blue and Yellow Tanager, Black Vulture, Spotted Rail, Green-winged Saltator, Hepatic Tanager, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Greater Rhea, Baird's Sandpiper, Orange-headed Tanager, Turkey Vulture, Wren-like Rushbird, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Sayaca Tanager, Solitary Sandpiper, White-lined Tanager, Upland Sandpiper, Cinnamon Teal, Golden-crowned Warbler, White-rumped Sandpiper, Ringed Teal, White-rimmed Warbler, Gilded Sapphire, Silver Teal, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Southern Screamer, Yellow-billed Teal, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Red-billed Scythebill, Large-billed Tern, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, Pearly-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-billed Tern, Checkered Woodpecker, Chestnut Seedeater, Freckle-breasted Thornbird, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Dark-throated Seedeater, Greater Thornbird, Golden-breasted Woodpecker, Double-collared Seedeater, Little Thornbird, Little Woodpecker, Marsh Seedeater, Creamy-bellied Thrush, White Woodpecker, Rusty-collared Seedeater, Pale-breasted Thrush, White-fronted Woodpecker, Tawny-bellied Seedeater, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Red Shoveler, Red-winged Tinamou, Gray-cowled Wood Rail, Hooded Siskin, Tataupa Tinamou, Grass Wren, Black Skimmer, Toco Toucan, House Wren, Common Snipe, Surucua Trogon, South American painted Snipe, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Grassland Sparrow, Sooty Tyrannulet, White-naped Xenopsaris, House Sparrow, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Greater Yellowlegs, Rufous-collared Sparrow, White-crested Tyrannulet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Chotoy Spinetail, Blue-billed Black Tyrant, Southern Yellowthroat, Spix's Spinetail, Cattle Tyrant, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Yellow-throated Spinetail, Pied Water Tyrant, Roseate Spoonbill, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Blue-tufted Starthroat, Spectacled Tyrant, South American Stilt, Strange-tailed Tyrant, Wood Stork, Fulvous-crowned Scrub-Tyrant, Maguari Stork, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Barn Swallow, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Bank Swallow, Blue and White Swallow, Chilean Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Tawny-headed Swallow, White-rumped Swallow

Other Wildlife

The intact environment is home and paradise to over 350 species of birds, Caimans, Capybara, Marsh Deer, Otter, Maned Wolf, Wild Cat, Howling Monkey, Skunk, Anaconda, Turtle, Piranha and many other animals. It's definitely a must for any ornithologist visiting Argentina.

Site Information

History and Use

Nature Reserve since 1983, under provincial protection

Areas of Interest

Ibera Wetlands and Aguapey River. An auto trip along highway 12, which constitutes the northern boundary of the reserve, will result in views of thousands of large marsh birds, such as storks and herons, as well as birds of prey. This road leads to the Chaco National Park, another outstanding birding area. This means that Ibera, Iguazu Falls National Park, and Chaco NP are all within a reasonable drive of each other; a week tour could take in all, although more time is recommended.

Access and Facilities

The park can be accessed by car or bus in two ways:

  • From the southwest via Mercedes, where the pavement stops. 90km of rough road constructed with a top layer of very large gravel or small rocks with many large chuck-holes ensues.
  • From the NW, a road (#41) leads 123km from a junction with the major paved highway 14. This road does not have (2009) the rock layer, but is characterized by sections of dust that is deep enough to cause difficulties in controlling the car; similar to driving in deep snow.

It is a toss-up which of these approaches is worse. A standard passenger car can handle either road in dry conditions, but the NW approach should not be attempted in the wet! Some sections of that road have been significantly improved, leading to the expectation that the dust/mud problem will be solved in the future.

The Visitor's Center is quite modern and staffed with helpful people. English is spoken by a few of the staff.

The tiny village of Carlos Pellegrini just across the bridge from the Reserve has some hostelerias, family-owned restaurants, and even a couple of sources of (very basic and very few) groceries. If staying at the campground, which is new and well equipped, you'll want to bring your food and supplies with you, especially if you've arrived by bus from Mercedes. It is a long walk to some parts of the town, which is laid out on a large grid even though the building density is slight. The campground is located right on the water, and offers about 20 sites with parking spots, shade pavillions, parillas (grills), and tables. There is a small fee for camping, on a per-person basis. Birding is quite good in the campground, and caymans are in the water just feet away. From either the campground or accomodations in town, it is about 2 km across the bridge to the Reserve, so a car is quite useful

Located only 500 km from the Iguazu National Park at the border to Brazil you can also combine your stay with the visit of this subtropical area that offers its slightly different beauties.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Content and images originally posted by mocosita


By mocosita:
Simply the best place for birding all over Argentina.

By Fritz73:

  • Lots of birds and other animals of the biggest wetland in Argentina


  • The route to Ibera sometimes isn't easy to access after big rain showers

By ibera:
I have been 5 times already and I each time I get more in love with this place. About transport you can take a bus from Buenos Aires to Mercedes and there you can get transport to Colonia Pellegrini where the Ibera Lagoon is.

  • Spectacular birding place


  • maybe distance from Buenos Aires