North-west Argentina has a number of highly sought after species. Here you can find Rufous-throated Dipper, Red-faced Guan and Horned Coot. Further south around Cordoba and Mendoza there are a number of endemics such as Cordoba and Steinbach´s Canastero, Olrog´s and Comechingones Cinclodes, Salinas Monjita, Bare-eyed Ground-Dove, Yellow-striped Brush-Finch, Tucuman Mountain-Finch and Cinnamon Warbling-Finch and specialties such as Tucuman Parrot, Spot-winged Falconet and Black-legged Sereima.
We will mostly stay at decent hotels on this circuit. Occasional camping will only be used when there are no hotels around, such as Copo National Park and possibly if people want to in Calilegua and Chancani.
Day 1. Jujuy-General San Martin. It is about 2 hours to the Park entrance of the 70.000 ha large Callilegua National Park which covers the scrubby lowlands to the more humid Yungas subtropics and the peaks above 3000m. In the lower foothill areas which we shall explore en route we have the possibility of seeing Toco Toucan, and at occational stops more skulking Giant Antshrike, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail and Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher. We will spend the night in a hotel in nearby San Martin.
Day 2. Calilegua National Park. The key species here is found in the evergreen Podocarpus dominated forest such as the Red-faced Guan, Alder Parrot, Blue-capped Puffleg and White-throated Antpitta occurs. The area is good for raptors and we shall be keeping an eye open for Black-and-White Hawk Eagle, Bicolored and White-rumped Hawks. Another night in San Martin. Owling can be good with for example the newly described Hoy´s Screech-Owl possible.
Night: San Martin or camping in the park.
Day 3. Calilegua National Park. Another full day in the national park.. Night in San Martin
Day 4. Calilegua-Yala River. Yet another morning may be needed for the Guan. In the Chaco on the way to Jujuy we shall be looking out for Red-legged and Black-legged Seriema. On the way to Humahuaca we will look for birds near Yala river. The special target here is the Vulnarable Rufous-throated Dipper - maybe one of the most sought after birds in NW Argentina. Other birds include Rufous-bellied Saltator, Torrent Duck, Dusky-legged Guan, Alder Parrot, Red-tailed Comet, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Spot-breasted Thornbird, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Crested Becard, Yellow-browed Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant, Slaty and Highland Elaenias, Eastern Slaty Thrush, Rothchild´s Swift, Andean Tyrant, Rust & Yellow Tanager and recently from the higher parts Red-faced Guan has also been found. Night in Tilcara.
Day 5. Humahuaca Road-Laguna Pozuelos-Yavi. Full day in the Lago Pozuelos area. Horned Coot is the prime target, but this very birdy moonscape area has many species. Puna Rhea, Chilean, Andean and Puna Flamingos, Andean Goose, Puna Teal, Mountain Caracara, Slate-colored and Giant Coots, Puna Plover, Andean Lapwing, Andean Avocet and Gray-breasted Seedsnipe. Red-backed Sierra-Finch, Puna Yellow-Finch are very local. Night in Yavi.
Day 6. Yavi. The day around Yavi could produce Rock Earthcreeper, Zimmer?s Tapaculo and Huayco Tinamou and in valleys with Polylepis one may find Short-tailed Finch and both Rufous-sided and Bolivian Warbling-Finches. Also we will look out for Citron-headed Yellow-Finch, Bare-faced Ground-Dove and Wedge-tailed Hillstar slightly lower down.
Day 7. Yavi-Yala River-Salta. We shall look again for Rufous-throated Dipper at Yala if necessary. The areas higher up on the Yala road are also very good for birding. The Santa Laura Hills can produce some new birds like Barred Forest-Falcon, Green-cheeked Parakeet, Cream-backed, Dot-fronted, Golden-olive and Green-barred Woodpeckers, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Stripe-crowned Spinetail, Rufous-backed Antshrike, White-winged Becard, Sclater´s Tyrannulet, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulets, Stripe-headed and Fulvous-headed Brush-Finches, Rusty-browed Warbling-Finch, Andean Slaty-Thrush, Saffron-billed, and Stripe-capped Sparrows. We spend the night in Salta.
Day 8. Drive to Joaquin V. Gonzales for some chaco birding. Birds here include Brushland Tinamou, Chaco Chachalaca, Spot-backed Puffbird, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Checkered Woodpecker, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Short-billed Canastero, Gray Monjita, White-bellied Tyrannulet, Black-capped Warbling-Finch and Many-colored Chaco-Finch. During the heat of the day we shall drive on to Copo National park where we will camp.
Day 9. Copo National Park. Chaco birding all day. National Park of Copo created in 2000 protects the unusual Quebracho forest Schinopsis quebracho-colorado. This is where we will have best chance to find the uncommon Quebracho Crested Tinamou as well as the rare Crowned Eagle. In the afternoon we shall continue to Joaquin V. Gonzales and Salta.
Day 10. We will head west via Parque Nacional de los Cardones where Maquis Canastero and Zimmer's Tapaculo sometimes can be found. Other species on the way include Stripe-capped Sparrow, Rufous-bellied Saltator, Red-tailed Comet and Black Siskin. Occasional Condors can be spotted overhead and in the dry valley Rock Earthcreepers, White-tipped Plantcutter, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, White-winged Black-Tyrant, Crested Becard, Rusty Flowerpiercer and Rufous-sided Warbling-Finch. The night is spent in wine center Cafayate, where we shall try the excellent wine and have a good meal.
Day 11. Cafayate-El Infiernillo & Tafi del Valle. In the rainshadow area south of Cafayate Sandy Gallito and White-throated Cacholote can be found in the thorny bush country. Other birds of the scrub include Checkered and White-fronted Woodpeckers, Greater Wagtail-Tyrant, Brown-capped Tit-Spinetail and Ringed Warbling-Finch. The higher areas near Infernillo sometimes hold Short-tailed Finch and Buff-breasted Earthcreeper. The afternoon will be dedicated to the area around Tafi del Valle, where the endemic Tucuman Mountain-Finch occurs. Also en route is the endemic Moreno´s Ground-Dove. Night in Concepción.
Day 12. Graneros-Salinas Grandes-Cordoba. Donelli?s Doradito and Salinas Monjita are targets species today as we drive to Cordoba.
Day 13. Cordoba-Icho Cruz-Sierra Grande & Pampa del Achala-Villa Dolores. Cordoba endemics such as Comechingones and Olrog´s Cinclodes, Cordoba race of Puna Canastero and Cinnamon Warbling-Finch. Night in Villa Dolores.
Day 14. Chancani. Best place for Chaco Owl and most of the other chaco birds are here including Brushland Tinamou, Black-legged Seriema, and Cream-backed and Black-bodied Woodpeckers. Night in Chancani.
Day 15. Chancani-San Luis-Mendoza. Mostly a driving day with selected stops on the way.
Day 16. Laguna Horcones and Vallecitos. Flight to Buenos Aires in PM.