It’s fair to say that most people who travel to Buenos Aires do not come to see birds. They come for the food, the tango, the Teatro Colon, and the amazing architecture. And if they are looking for birds they are probably stopping on their way to visiting somewhere else in the region.
Yet there are amazing birds to be seen within city limits.
And you might not find the best place to see them mentioned in most guidebooks. That’s because the place you’ll want to go didn’t exist until 1986. And if you do read about it you might also read that it’s a place for tourists to avoid for safety reasons.
But having spent a number of mornings and afternoons there, I can report that I never felt in danger — and I was lugging around a very large camera. The park was busy with joggers and kids on school trips. I even passed a large group of police cadets in training one morning.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be heads-up — but that goes for any part of the city.
So what is this place?
It’s the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, and it’s in the Puerto Madero area, a short walk from most hotels.
More than a hundred species of birds have been spotted in the area. In just a few days of walking around I spotted more than 25, including this turkey-sized bird known as a Chajá (or, in English, Southern Screamer):
Being from the Midwest and now living in the West, I miss seeing cardinals. So I was thrilled to come across this red-crested cardinal:
I was surprised to learn that this species is not actually related to the cardinals I grew up with; it’s part of the tanager family.
I also sighted a curious Great Kiskadee:
And if you want to see parrots, you’re almost guaranteed to see a species or two, like this monk parakeet:
And don’t forget to look down once in a while, or you might miss the many turtles and iguanas:
If you can make time to visit this reserve when in Buenos Aires, I highly recommend it (note that it’s closed on Mondays).
Most important, it is possible to go naturing and birding in Buenos Aires, so don’t miss this abundance of flora and fauna in the city, even if you’re on your way somewhere else.