Ornithology is the study of birds and with over 700 species so far recorded in Paraguay there is a lot of work to be done! Paraguay has been overlooked by birders for decades and is one of the most under-watched countries in South America, so the potential for new discoveries is vast. However, as in the rest of the continent, ornithologists face a race against time as natural habitats disappear at an alarming rate.
The Paraguayan birding community is small but dedicated. In the last 9 years they have added more than 60 new species to the country list. In addition a further 61 species have been reported for Paraguay but have yet to be confirmed, while birds that nobody would ever have imagined would be found here are being turned up at an extraordinarily frequent rate. Take for example the case of the Speckled Crake Coturnicops notata, a species that raised eyebrows when it was first discovered in Paraguay, largely due to the fact that it was several thousand miles south of its known range at the time, or the Arctic Tern Sterna paradisea sighted at the Bahía de Asunción during 1989, representing the first ever record of the species for the interior of South America.
It is now becoming increasingly clear that Paraguay, with its abundance of rivers and esteros is an internationally important site for migrant waterbirds, including northern hemisphere species migrating to southern hemisphere wintering grounds, that were previously thought to be strictly coastal. Six wetland sites have been highlighted under the RAMSAR convention. Imagine the surprise when a breeding plumaged Dunlin Calidris alpina was sighted in June 2001 just outside the capital city, over a thousand kilometres from the coast, or the juvenile Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria areneipes on a Chaco lake during October 2000.
If you are interested in helping out in ornithological surveys and field work in Paraguay check out volunteer schemes. FAUNA Paraguay supports Para La Tierra (Estación Ecológica de Laguna Blanca) and highly recommends it as a base for professional researchers, students and interested volunteers who wish to make a considerable contribution to Paraguayan ornithology. 
To assist with the building of our knowledge of Paraguayan ornithology we welcome visitors to Paraguay to send in photographs, lists and observations of interest from their visits to Paraguay. We are also available to help with any queries or identification problems that you may have encountered during your trip, though of course you will get more out of your visit if you have an expert  guide!

Click here for links to other webpages relevant to ornithology in Paraguay.
Designed by Paul Smith 2006. This website is copyrighted by law. Material contained herewith may not be used without the prior written permission of FAUNA Paraguay. Photographs on this web-site were taken by Paul Smith, Hemme Batjes, Regis Nossent, Alberto Esquivel, Arne Lesterhuis and Hugo del Castillo and are used with their permission.