Bolivia - The Bolivian Chaco, August 2019

Published by Manu Expeditions (birding AT

Participants: Barry Walker, Richard Amable



Day 1, 21st Aug: Met at the airport and drove to Camiri, birding various sites en route. Night Camiri. 900 meters.

Day 2, 22nd Aug: All day birding the Chaco east of Boyuibe on the road to Villazon. Night Camiri 750 meters.

Day 3, 23rd Aug: All day birding the Chaco east of Boyuibe on the road to Villazon. Night Camiri 750 meters.

Day 4, 24th Aug: Drove to Laguna Camatindy, 15km north of Bouyuibe for the morning and then drove back to Santa Cruz to join the main tour.



Greater Rhea - Rhea americana. 8 near Santa Cruz and Okinowa. Near Threatened.


Tataupa Tinamou - Crypturellus tataupa. Heard only, commonly heard in the Chaco.

Small-billed Tinamou - Crypturellus parvirostris. Heard only.


Muscovy Duck- Cairina moschata. 3 fly-overs in the Chaco.

Ringed Teal - Calonetta leucophrys. Fairly common on cattle ponds near Boyuibe and Lake Camatindy. It’s the only member of its genus. We saw around 300 in total.

Brazilian Teal - Amazonetta braziliensis. Fairly common on any ponds or lakes.

Cinnamon Teal - Spatula cyanoptera. Just 2 on Comatindy Lake.

White-cheeked Pintail – Spatula bahamensis. A couple on a cattle pond and 100+ on Catamindy Lake.

Rosy-billed Pochard - Netta peposaca. Just 2 on Comatindy Lake.

Masked Duck - Nomonyx dominicus. 2 on a stop on the drive to Caimiri.

Lake Duck - Oxyura vittata. At least 4 on Catamindy Lake – not well known in Bolivia.

Black-headed Duck – Heteronetta atricapilla. Only 1 on Catamindy Lake. The Black-headed Duck is a small, teal-sized duck found in temperate South America. This species is unique among ducks in that it is an obligate brood parasite. In its interactions with its host species, Black-headed Ducks procure the services of incubation from the host; as a precocial species, parental care provided newly-hatched ducklings is minimal since Black-headed Duck young soon leave host broods.


Chaco Chachalaca – Ortalis canicollis. At least 10 seen in the Chaco area. Very vocal. ENDEMIC.


Southern Silvery Grebe – Podiceps occiptalis occiptalis. 20+ on the Catamindy Lake seemed to be of the nominate southern form wintering here.

Least Grebe - Tachybaptus dominicus. Common on ponds and lakes in the Chaco.


Picazuro Pigeon - Patagioenas picazuro. The common Pigeon in the Chaco. Note that recent research has shown that the genus Columba is paraphyletic, with New World taxa being more closely related to Streptopelia than to Old World Columba pigeons. This is consistent with differences between New World and Old-World Columba in terms of morphology, serology and behaviour. The suggestion was made to place all New World forms in the genus Patagioenas, and the AOU recently adopted this change in its latest checklist supplement.

Eared Dove - Zenaida auriculata. Common.

Picui Ground-Dove - Columbina picui. Commonest species of the trip!

White-tipped Dove - Leptoptila verreauxi. Common.


Squirrel Cuckoo - Piaya cayana. At least one seen.

Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga ani. A few on the drive to and from Santa Cruz.

Guira Cuckoo - Guira guira. Very common.


Nacunda Nighthawk – Chordeiles nacunda. One seen by some.


White-collared Swift - Streptoprocne zonaris. Common.


Glittering-bellied Emerald - Chlorostilbon aureoventris. Only one seen.

White-bellied Hummingbird - Amazilia chinogaster. 2 on the drive to Caimiri.

Gilded Hummingbird – Hylocharis chysura. Fairly common in the Chaco.

Blue-tufted Starthroat - Heliomaster furcifer. 3 in the Chaco.


Grey-cowled Wood-Rail - Aramides cajaneas. 2 seen on the first day.

Spot-flanked Gallinule - Porphyriops melanops. 2 on a cattle pond and two on Lake Catamindy.

White-winged Coot - Fulica leucoptera. 200+ on Catamindy Lake and some on cattle ponds.

Rufous-sided Crake - Laterallus melanophaius. Heard only.


White-backed Stilt - Himantopus melanurus. Seen daily. The South American Checklist Comittee says “Himantopus mexicanus was formerly (e.g., Peters 1934, Pinto 1938, Hellmayr & Conover 1948b, Phelps & Phelps 1958a, Vaurie 1965c, Meyer de Schauensee 1970, Blake 1977, Haverschmidt & Mees 1994) considered a subspecies of Old-World H. himantopus ("Common Stilt") and was so treated by Dickinson (2003). Some authors have treated southern South American melanurus as a separate species (e.g., Sibley & Monroe 1990, Ridgely & Greenfield 2001). The six taxa in the genus Himantopus form a near-globally distributed superspecies (Mayr & Short 1970, Sibley & Monroe 1990, Pierce 1996), and with from one to six species-level taxa recognized by various authors. Virtually no data are available relevant to taxon-ranking of allopatric populations. The contact between mexicanus and melanurus in South America, where at least some hybridization occurs, affords one of the best opportunities for such study.


Southern Lapwing – Vanellus chilensis. Common.


Wattled Jacana - Jacana jacana. On the drive from Santa Cruz.


Maguari Stork - Mycteria Americana. 1 between Boyuibe and Santa Cruz.


Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus. 8 on Lake Catamindy.


Whistling Heron - Syrigma sibilatrix. 2 on the drive to Camiri.

Great Egret - Ardea alba. A few. Ardea alba was formerly (e.g., Pinto 1938, Hellmayr & Conover 1948a, Phelps & Phelps 1958a, Meyer de Schauensee 1970, AOU 1983) placed in monotypic genus Casmerodius, but morphometric (Payne and Risley 1976), vocal (McCracken & Sheldon 1987), and genetic data (Sheldon 1987, Sheldon et al. 1995, McCracken & Sheldon 1998) do not support recognition of this as a separate genus from Ardea. Some classifications (e.g., Bock 1956, Blake 1977) have placed Ardea alba in Egretta, but see Sheldon (1987), Sheldon et al. (1995), McCracken & Sheldon (1998), and Sheldon et al. (2000). Some recent genetic data (Chang et al. 2003) support resurrection of Casmerodius.

Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis. Common.

Striated Heron – Butoroides striatus. One only on Lake Catamindy.

Rufescent Tiger-heron - Tigrisoma lineatum. 1 seen.


White-faced Ibis - Phimosus chihi. A few here and there.

Buff-necked Ibis - Theristicus caudatus. Several sightings in the lowlands near Bouyuibe and Camiri.


Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus. Common.

Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura. Common.


Crane Hawk - Geranospiza caerulescens. 2 birds seen in the Chaco.

Great-black Hawk – Buteogallus urubitinga. One soaring very high.

Savanna Hawk - Buteogallus meridionalis. One on the drive to Camiri.

Harris's Hawk - Parabuteo unicinctus. One on the way to Comarapa.

Roadside Hawk - Rupornis magnirostris. Quite common – the dark hooded southern race.


Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl - Glaucidium brasilianum. 1 seen on the way to Boyuibe.


Blue-crowned Trogon - Trogon curucui. Common in the lowlands.


Spot-backed Puffbird - Nystalus maculatus striatipectus. Several sightings in the lowlands around Santa Cruz, but also at Samaipata and Tambo area. Silva (1991) considered striatipectus a separate species from Nystalus maculatus; not followed by Rasmussen & Collar (2002).


White-barred Piculet - Picumnus cirratus. One seen well in the Chaco.

Ocellated Piculet – Picumnus dorbignyanus. We saw one of the nominate race.

White-fronted Woodpecker - Melanerpes cactorum. One in the Chaco.

Checkered Woodpecker - Picus mixtus. 1 seen well in the Chaco out of Boyuibe.

Little Woodpecker - Venilornis passerinus. 1 on the way to Caimiri.

Green-barred Woodpecker (Flicker) - Colaptes melanochloros. Inexplicably called “Woodpecker” when all other Colaptes are called Flickers! Colaptes atricollis, C. punctigula, and C. melanochloros were formerly (e.g., Cory 1919, Pinto 1937, Peters 1948, Phelps & Phelps 1958a, Meyer de Schauensee 1970) treated in a separate genus, Chrysoptilus, but Short (1965, 1972a, 1982) merged this into Colaptes. However, plumage similarities of these three species to Piculus suggests that further study may reveal a closer relationship to that genus ; in fact, recent genetic data with limited taxon-sampling suggest that Piculus and South American Colaptes are more closely related to each other than either is to North American Colaptes (Prychitko & Moore 2000, Weibel & Moore 2002a, b; see also Webb & Moore 2005). Ridgely & Greenfield (2001) and Hilty (2003) retained Chrysoptilus for punctigula only. 59. Colaptes atricollis, C. punctigula, and C. melanochloros were called "Flickers" by Short (1982). 60. The subspecies melanolaimus (with nigroviridis and leucofrenatus) was formerly (e.g., Cory 1919, Traylor 1951c, Meyer de Schauensee 1970; but not Laubmann 1934, Peters 1948) considered a separate species ("Golden-breasted Woodpecker") from Colaptes melanochloros, but they intergrade where in contact (Short 1972a, Winkler & Christie 2002). The subspecies nigroviridis and "mariae" were also formerly (e.g., Cory 1919) each considered separate species from Colaptes melanochloros, but Peters (1948) treated them all as conspecific; "mariae" is not currently recognized as a valid taxon at any level (Short 1972a, 1982, Winkler & Christie 2002).

Cream-backed Woodpecker – Campephilus leucopogon. 2 in the Chaco out of Boyuibe. ENDEMIC.


Black-legged Seriema – Chunga burmeisteri. 9 birds seen well in the Chaco. A most wanted bird! Often missed but we had many good views. ENDEMIC.

Red-legged Seriema - Cariama cristata. We screeched to a halt for two as we were arriving at Santa Cruz.


Southern Crested Caracara - Polyborus plancus. Common.

Laughing Falcon - Herpetothers cachinnans. One seen on the way to Boyuibe.

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus. One seen on the first day.


Yellow-collared Macaw - Primolius auricollis. Fantastic views on the way to Boyuibe.

Blue-crowned Parakeet - Aratinga acuticaudata. Common.

White-eyed Parakeet - Aratinga leucophthalmus. Fairly common on the drive to Caimiri.

Monk Parakeet – Myiopsitta monarchus. 40+ in the Chaco at the nest out of Boyuibe.

Blue-winged Parrotlet - Forpus xanthopterygius. 3 on the drive to Caimiri.

Yellow–chevroned Parakeet - Brotogeris chiriri. Seen on the drive to Caimiri.

Scaly-headed Parrot - Pionus maximiliani. Ones and twos in the Chaco.

Turquoise (Blue)–fronted Parrot - Amazona aestiva. Quite a few, with good looks in the Chaco.


Crested Gallito - Ryhnocrypta lanceolata. Good views of a pair of this well named giant Tapaculo in the Chaco near Boyuibe. ENDEMIC.


Great Antshrike - Taraba major. Several.

Barred Antshrike - Thamnophilus doliatus. Commonly heard and a few seen.

Variable Antshrike - Thamnophilus caerulescens. Commonest Chaco Antbird.

Black-bellied Antwren – Formicavora melanogaster. A lovley pair enticed in taller Chaco.


Olivaceous Woodcreeper - Sittasomus griseicapillus viridis. Common. The SACC says “Sittasomus griseicapillus almost certainly consists of multiple species (Hardy et al. 1991, Ridgely & Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1995, Ridgely & Greenfield 2001, Hilty 2003), with at least five subspecies groups possibly deserving separate species status (Marantz et al. 2003).” The subspecies we saw in Bolivia was viridis. In Manu it’s amazonus, in Tumbes it is aequatorialis, and in SE Brazil it’s sylviellus and there are more. Watch this taxon for splits.

Narrow-billed Woodcreeper - Lepidocolaptes angustirostris. Common in the lowlands. Snazzy!

Great Rufous Woodcreeper - Xiphocolaptes major. 2 in the taller woodland played hide and seek.

Red-billed Scythebill - Campylorhamphus trochilirostris. One in the Chaco.

Chaco Earthcreeper – Tarphonomus certhioides. 1 in the Chaco out of Boyuibe. A range restricted Chaco endemic. The genus Ochetorhynchus was used for U. harterti and U. certhioides by Ridgely & Tudor (1994) to recognize the distinctiveness of these two species from other Upucerthia (especially with respect to nest type); however, the type species of Ochetorhynchus is ruficaudus, making that name unavailable for harterti + certhioides unless ruficaudus is also included (Remsen 2003). Peters (1951) treated those three species in Ochetorhynchus. The genus Upucerthia is highly polyphyletic (Chesser et al. 2007, Fjeldså et al. 2007, Moyle et al. 2009), with (a) harterti and certhioides in a group with Pseudocolaptes and Premnornis, (b) andaecola and ruficaudus in a group with Eremobius and Chilia, (c) serrana basal to a group that includes Cinclodes and the remaining Upucerthia (dumetaria, albigula, jelskii, and validirostris). Chesser and Brumfield (2007) named a new genus Tarphonomus for certhioides + harterti. Derryberry et al. (2011) also corroborated this treatment. ENDEMIC.

Rufous Hornero - Furnarius rufus. One of the commonest birds of the trip.

Crested Hornero - Furnarius cristatus. Seen well in the Chaco on 3 consecutive days. ENDEMIC.

Sooty-fronted Spinetail - Synallaxis frontalis. Two seen others heard.

Stripe-crowned Spinetail - Cranioleuca pyrrhophia. We saw the nominate pyrrhophia in the lowlands of the Chaco.

Short-billed Canastero – Asthenes baeri. In Bolivia restricted to Chaco habitat. 6 seen out of Boyuibe. ENDEMIC.

Little Thornbird – Phacellodomus silbilatrix. Two seen in the Chaco in response to playback. ENDEMIC.

Common (Rufous-fronted) Thornbird - Phacellodomus rufifrons. 2 seen well.

Streak-fronted Thornbird - Phacellodomus striaticeps. 2 seen.

Greater Thornbird - Phacellodomus ruber. Heard only.

Lark-like Bushrunner – Coryphsitera alaudina. About 30+ of this startling Old-World Lark look-alike (hence “alaudina”) in the Chaco out of Boyuibe. ENDEMIC.


Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant - Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer. Common on this trip.

Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet - Camptostoma obsoletum. Common.

Suiriri Flyctacher - Suiriri suiriri. Common in the Chaco. Some authors (Cory & Hellmayr 1927, Short 1975, Sibley & Monroe 1990) considered S. affinis (campo Suiriri) as a species separate from S. suiriri (Chaco Suiriri) , but they intergrade in southeastern Bolivia, northeastern Paraguay, and southwestern Brazil (Laubmann 1940, Zimmer 1955, Traylor 1982, Hayes 1995, 2001). Their vocalizations are similar (Zimmer et al. 2001), and all 17 specimens from the Paraguayan hybrid zone are intermediate, suggesting free interbreeding (Hayes 1995, 2001).

White-crested Tyrannulet - Serpophaga subcristata. 2 in the Chaco.

White-bellied Tyrannulet - Serpophaga munda. Fairly common in the Chaco.

Straneck’s Tyrannulet – Serpophaga greseiceps. The Straneck’s Tyrannulet has an odd taxonomic history. In the 80s, Roberto Straneck noted that some small Serpophaga tyrannulets in central Argentina had a different song than that of the typical White-crested or White-bellied (S. subcristata and munda) tyrannulets. He concluded that this different creature was in fact “Serpophaga griseiceps,” a species known from only two specimens from Bolivia. However, specimen studies of griseiceps suggested that the oddities of their plumage, such as the lack of a white crown patch were because these were juvenal specimens of the White-bellied Tyrannulet. This was the situation for many years. Many field observers would see and record this different sounding Serpophaga from C Bolivia to C Argentina and list it as “griceiceps” in quotation marks as this name was not officially accepted for this bird. Eventually Straneck re-analyzed various aspects of this creature and officially described it to science. Although the taxonomic history was muddled, the feat of realizing this different-sounding flycatcher existed was noteworthy, and the bird now takes the name of Argentine ornithologist Roberto Straneck. The Straneck’s Tyrannulet appears to breed largely in the Monte region and W Chaco in Argentina, it likely also extends north as a breeder to Bolivia. Since this species was in taxonomic limbo, good data on its distribution is not available.

Greater Wagtail-Tyrant - Stigmatura budytoides. Very common in the Chaco.

Yellow-olive Tolmomyias - Tolmomyias sulphurescens. One on the way to Caimiri. The AOU (1998), Hilty (2003), and Fitzpatrick (2004) suggested that Tolmomyias sulphurescens almost certainly consists of multiple species.

Bran-colored Flycatcher - Myiophobus fasciatus. One during the trip at lake Catamindy.

Austral Vermillion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus. Fairly common in the Chaco. In a recent paper – Carmi el al 2016 it strongly suggests several taxonomic changes to the genus Pyrocephalus, including elevating three currently recognized subspecies to full species status: the austral migrant South American subspecies rubinus, and the two Galápagos subspecies dubius and nanus. As such, they propose a revised taxonom.

White Monjita - Xolmis irupero. In total 3 in the Chaco. Irupero from the native Guarano “Troublesome Bird”!

Cinereous Tyrant - Knipolegus striaticeps. 4 on consecutive days seen very well in the Chaco. ENDEMIC.

Hudsons Black-Tyrant - Knipolegus hudsoni. Common. Little groups migrating north. Hudson’s Black-Tyrant is named for Argentinas premier naturalist, William Henry Hudson, who later in life was also one of the first officers (in the 1890s) of a fledgling organization known as the RSPB in Britain. This species is highly migratory, but the details of its movements remain to be worked out. It appears to breed largely in the Monte and Espinal habitats of Argentina, and migrates north to Bolivia and W Paraguay in the non-breeding season.

Black-backed Water-tyrant - Fluvicola albiventer. Ona at Catamindy Lake.

Cattle Tyrant - Machetornis rixosus. Common.

Yellow-browed Tyrant – Satrapa icterophrys. Just one.

Rufous Casiornis - Casiornis rufa. One in the taller forest.

Brown-crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus tyrannulus. Two seen in the Chaco.

Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus. Common.


Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Cyclarhis gujanensis. Common in the lowlands.


Purplish Jay - Cyanocorax cyanomelas. Common.

Plush-crested Jay - Cyanocorax chrysops. Common in the Chaco.


Gray-breasted Martin - Progne chalybea. Seen on the drive to and from Caimiri.

Blue-and-White Swallow - Notiochelidon cyanoleuca. Just 2.

Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica. The New World populations of Hirundo rustica were formerly (e.g., Ridgway 1904) treated as a separate species, H. erythrogastra, from Old World populations.

Southern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx ruficollis. A few.


Masked Gnatcatcher - Polioptila dumicola. Abundant in the Chaco.


House Wren - Troglodytes aedon. Common.


White-banded Mockingbird - Mimus triurus. Common in the Chaco.

Brown-backed Mockingbird - Mimus dorsalis. One seen by some at Lake Catamindy. Almost a Bolivian endemic but sneaks into N Argentina. Range-restricted.


Creamy-bellied Thrush - Turdus amaurochalinus. Common.


House Sparrow – Passer domesticus. In Caimiri.


Rufous-collared Sparrow - Zonotrichia capensis. Common.

Safron-billed Sparrow - Arremon flavirostris. A few seen on the way to Camiri, and in a few other places.


Crested Oropendola - Psarocolius decumanus. One seen.

Variable Oriole - Icterus pyrrhopterus. 2 at Saipina. A recent split from Epaulet Oriole I. cayanensis.

White-browed Meadowlark - Leistes superciliaris. Seen on the drive from Santa Cruz.

Shiny Cowbird - Molothrus bonariensis. Common.


Tropical Parula - Parula pitiayumi. Fairly common.


Black-backed Grosbeak - Pheucticus aureoventris. Common.

Ultramarine Grosbeak – Cyanocompsa brissonii. At least 7 seen. Named for Jacques Brissson (1723-1806) French Ornithologist.


Red-crested Cardinal – Paroaria coronata. Common.

Black-capped Warbling-Finch - Microspingus melanoleuca. Abundant. ENDEMIC.

Sayaca Tanager - Thraupis sayaca. Common in the lowlands and valleys.

Blue-and-Yellow Tanager - Thraupis bonariensis. Common.

Many-coloured Chaco-Finch – Saltatricula multicolor. 4+ in the Chaco. A cracking bird! Range-restricted.

Saffron Finch - Sicalis flaveola. Abundant in lowlands.

Great Pampa Finch- Embernagra platensis. One only. Here the western race with a brighter bill and less black.

Blue-black Grassquit – Volantina jacaranda. Common.

Double-collared Seedeater - Sporophila caerulescens. Common.

Red-crested (Pileated) Finch - Coryphospingus cucullatus. Very common in the lowlands.

Bananaquit - Coereba flaveola. Common.

Golden-billed Saltator - Saltator aurantiirostris. Abundant.

Grayish Saltator – Saltator coerulescens. Three seen and commonly heard.

Great Pampa Finch - Embernagra platensis. Seen at various localities.

Blue-black Grassquit - Volatinia jacarina. Common.