List of birds of Chile

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The Andean condor is the national bird of Chile.

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Chile. The avifauna of Chile includes a total of 479 species (324 non-passerines and 155 passerines), of which 12 are endemic (with 8 species belonging to the suborder Tyranni), 6 have been introduced by humans, and 88 are rare or accidental. 33 species are globally threatened.[1] The list includes species recorded on Easter Island, Sala y Gómez, the Juan Fernández Islands and the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Chile.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.

  • (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Chile.
  • (E) Endemic A species endemic to Chile.
  • (I) Introduced A species introduced to Chile as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
  • (Ant) Antarctic A species recorded from the Chilean Antarctic Territory but not from Chile proper.

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Rheas • Tinamous • Penguins • Grebes • Albatrosses • Shearwaters and petrels • Storm petrels • Diving petrels • Tropicbirds • Pelicans • Boobies and gannets • Cormorants • Frigatebirds • Bitterns, herons and egrets • Storks • Ibises and spoonbills • Flamingos • Ducks, geese and swans • New World vultures • Osprey • Hawks, kites and eagles • Caracaras and falcons • New World quails • Pheasants and partridges • Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots • Jacanas • Painted snipe • Oystercatchers • Avocets and stilts • Thick-knees • Plovers and lapwings • Magellanic plover • Sandpipers and allies • Seedsnipes • Sheathbills • Skuas and jaegers • Gulls • Terns • Skimmers • Pigeons and doves • Parrots, macaws and allies • Cuckoos and anis • Barn owls • Typical owls • Nightjars • Swifts • Hummingbirds • Kingfishers • Woodpeckers and allies

Passerines: Ovenbirds • Tapaculos • Cotingas • Tyrant flycatchers • Swallows and martins • Wagtails and pipits • Wrens • Mockingbirds and thrashers • Thrushes and allies • Vireos • New World warblers • Tanagers • Buntings, sparrows, and allies • Saltators, cardinals and allies • Troupials and allies • Siskins, crossbills and allies • Sparrows

See also       References


Lesser rheas, different races occur in Patagonia and in the northern Andes.

Order: Struthioniformes. Family: Rheidae

The rheas are large flightless birds native to South America. Their feet have three toes rather than four which allows them to run faster. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.


Order: Tinamiformes. Family: Tinamidae

The tinamous are one of the most ancient groups of bird. Although they look similar to other ground-dwelling birds like quail and grouse, they have no close relatives and are classified as a single family Tinamidae within their own order, the Tinamiformes. They are distantly related to the ratites (order Struthioniformes), that includes the rheas, emu, and kiwi. There are 6 species which occur in Chile.


Magellanic penguin, breeds in colonies in the south.

Order: Sphenisciformes. Family: Spheniscidae

The penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. There are 10 species which occur in Chile.


Pied-billed grebe, widespread on lakes and ponds.

Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 5 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are 9 species which occur in Chile.

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Southern fulmar, common offshore especially in winter.

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 33 species which occur in Chile.

Storm petrels[edit]

Ringed storm petrel, believed to breed in northern Chile.

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 10 species which occur in Chile.

Diving petrels[edit]

Peruvian diving petrel, occurs on inshore coastal waters.

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Pelecanoididae

The diving petrels are small auk-like birds found in the southern oceans. They feed on krill, copepods and small fish and squid. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.


Red-billed tropicbird, a small colony breeds on Chañaral Island.

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.


Peruvian pelicans, common in the Humboldt Current area.

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal sea-birds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 5 species which occur in Chile.


Guanay cormorant, nest on islands in large colonies.

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 6 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Snowy egret, widespread near water.

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae

The Ardeidae family contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-neeecked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 10 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Black-faced ibises, often seen in flocks in open country

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 5 species which occur in Chile.


Andean flamingo in the Salar de Atacama, occurs at saline lakes in the northern highlands.

Order: Phoenicopteriformes. Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Black-necked swan, a large bird of coasts and wetlands.
Upland goose, common in Patagonia
Chiloe wigeon, breeds in southern and central Chile with some migrating north in winter.

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are adapted to aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 30 species which occur in Chile.

New World vultures[edit]

Black vulture, often scavenges in cities.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carrion. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Falconiformes. Family: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Hawks, kites and eagles[edit]

Black-chested buzzard-eagle, a large and widespread bird of prey.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 13 species which occur in Chile.

Caracaras and falcons[edit]

Chimango caracara, often common around human settlements.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 10 species which occur in Chile.

New World quails[edit]

California quail, introduced in 1870.

Order: Galliformes. Family: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Pheasants and partridges[edit]

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots[edit]

Red-fronted coot, found in well-vegetated lowland wetlands.
Giant coot at Bofedales de Parinacota, breeds at highland lakes in the north.

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 13 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Jacanidae

The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide in the Tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rostratulidae

Painted snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.


Blackish oystercatcher, restricted to rocky coasts.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.

Avocets and stilts[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Burhinidae

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Plovers and lapwings[edit]

Southern lapwing, a conspicuous bird of open country.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 14 species which occur in Chile.

Magellanic plover[edit]

Magellanic plover, breeds by saline lakes in Patagonia.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Pluvianellidae

The Magellanic plover is a rare wader found only in southernmost South America. In its build and habits it is similar to a turnstone. Its upperparts and breast are pale grey, and the rest of the underparts are white. It has short red legs, a black bill and a red eye. In young birds, the eyes and legs are yellowish in colour.

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Whimbrel, a migrant from North America.
Lesser yellowlegs, a migrant to wetland areas.
Sanderling, common on sandy beaches.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 31 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Thinocoridae

The seedsnipes are a small family of birds that superficially resemble sparrows. They have short legs and long wings and are herbivorous waders. There are 4 species which occur in Chile.


Snowy sheathbill, found along the coasts of southern chile.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Chionididae

The sheathbills are scavengers of the Antarctic regions. They have white plumage, and look plump and dove-like, but are believed to be similar to the ancestors of the modern gulls and terns. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Skuas and jaegers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 6 species which occur in Chile.

Gulls and terns[edit]

Belcher's gull, common on northern coasts.
Andean gull, breeds at high-altitude wetlands.
Inca tern, common in the waters of the Humboldt Current.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes gulls, kittiwakes, and terns. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large sea-birds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years.


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rynchopidae

Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Black-winged ground dove, widespread in the Andes.

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 11 species which occur in Chile.

Parrots, macaws and allies[edit]

Burrowing parrot, now rare and endangered.

Order: Psittaciformes. Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 5 species which occur in Chile.

Cuckoos and anis[edit]

Groove-billed ani, occurs in farmland in the north of Chile.

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.

Barn owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

Typical owls[edit]

Burrowing owl, a diurnal owl of open country.

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 6 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.


Sparkling violetear, a hummingbird that live in the North of Chile.

Order: Trochiliformes. Family: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. There are 9 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.

Woodpeckers and allies[edit]

Striped woodpecker, often feeds on the ground as well as in trees.
Chilean flicker in Torres del Paine National Park.

Order: Piciformes. Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 4 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Furnariidae

Ovenbirds comprise a large family of small sub-oscine passerine bird species found in Central and South America. They are a diverse group of insectivores which gets its name from the elaborate "oven-like" clay nests built by some species, although others build stick nests or nest in tunnels or clefts in rock. There are 32 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Rhinocryptidae

The tapaculos are a group of small suboscine passeriform birds with numerous species, found in South America. They are terrestrial species that fly only poorly on their short wings. They have strong legs, well-suited to their habitat of grassland or forest undergrowth. The tail is cocked and pointed. There are 8 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cotingidae

The cotingas are birds of forests or forest edges of tropical South America. Comparatively little is known about this diverse group, although all have broad bills with hooked tips, rounded wings, and strong legs. The males of many of the species are brightly coloured, or decorated with plumes or wattles. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

White-crested elaenia, a common summer visitor in much of Chile.
Fire-eyed diucon, often perches conspicuously on wires or the tops of bushes.
Great shrike-tyrant, a large flycatcher of scrub and open forest.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, have plain colouring. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. There are 38 species which occur in Chile.

Swallows and martins[edit]

Barn swallow, a migrant from North America

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 9 species which occur in Chile.

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.


House wren, widespread in a variety of habitats.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae

The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 2 species which occur in Chile.

Mockingbirds and thrashers[edit]

Chilean mockingbird, an endemic bird of central Chile.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalizations, especially their ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. Their colouring tends towards dull greys and browns. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.

Thrushes and allies[edit]

Austral thrush in Santiago, often seen in parks and gardens.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 4 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

New World warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Parulidae

The New World warblers are a group of small, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 4 species which occur in Chile.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Thraupidae

The tanagers are a large group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World, mainly in the tropics. Many species are brightly coloured. They are seed eaters, but their preference tends towards fruit and nectar.

Buntings, sparrows, and allies[edit]

Patagonian sierra finch, found in forest and forest edge in the south.
Rufous-collared sparrow near Punta Arenas, one of Chile's commonest birds.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae

The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.

Saltators, cardinals and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are 3 species which occur in Chile.

Troupials and allies[edit]

Long-tailed meadowlark, a common bird of open country.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as the predominant plumage colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. There are 10 species which occur in Chile.

Siskins, crossbills and allies[edit]

Black-chinned siskin, common in southern and central Chile.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 5 species which occur in Chile.


House sparrow, introduced in 1904.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There is 1 species which occurs in Chile.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Globally threatened species in Chile, BirdLife International.


External links[edit]