Argentina has an incredible variety of birds but only few of them are subject to be hunted. The list below covers all the species of birds legally allowed to hunt as well as some small game. All of them are available in our wingshooting area near Buenos Aires. No domestic flights are necessary. Just a short drive of average two hours by a brand new four lanes highway.
Since all native species of Argentina have exportation restrictions none of the species in the following list can be exported. There are some Argentinean bird hunting species (as the Magellan Goose) not shown below because they are no longer allowed to hunt. Argentina Big Hunting don't promote or hunt protected species of any kind and we strongly support and respect all wildlife regulations against hunting of endangered animals.
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds which also includes other species of waterfowl. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.
Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes, gallinules, and coots.
The overall body plan of ducks is elongated and broad; they are also relatively long-necked, albeit not as long-necked as the geese and swans. The body shape of diving ducks varies somewhat from this in being more rounded. The bill is usually broad and contains serrated lamellae, which are particularly well defined in the filter-feeding species. In the case of some fishing species the bill is long and strongly serrated. The scaled legs are strong and well developed, and generally set far back on the body, more so in the highly aquatic species. The wings are very strong and are generally short and pointed, and the flight of ducks requires fast continuous strokes, requiring in turn strong wing muscles.
Ducks exploit a variety of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians, worms, and small mollusks but crop grains (corn, rice and so on) is what they prefer to eat in Argentina.
As for breeding, ducks are generally monogamous, although these bonds generally last only a single year. Larger species and the more sedentary species (like fast river specialists) tend to have pair-bonds that last numerous years. Most duck species breed once a year, choosing to do so in favorable conditions (spring/summer or wet seasons). Ducks also tend to make a nest before breeding, and after hatching to lead their ducklings to water. Mother ducks are very caring and protective of their young, but may abandon some of their ducklings if they are physically stuck in an area they cannot get out of (including nesting in an enclosed courtyard) or are not prospering due to genetic defects or sickness brought about by hypothermia, starvation, or disease. Ducklings can also be orphaned by inconsistent late hatching where a few eggs hatch after the mother has abandoned the nest and led her ducklings to water.
Regarding distribution, many different species of ducks inhabit most of the Argentinean territory. In our bird hunting area of Entre Rios, close to Buenos Aires, we have many different species of teals, pintails, shovelers, wigeons, rosy bill pochards and whistling ducks among some other.
We shoot them in ponds and creeks, mostly over decoys but we also have some passing shooting. Blinds are set on solid ground so hunters avoid the hassles to be in the water during the cold early hours of the winter. We count with the best modern American hunting equipment like decoys, robo-ducks, portable blinds, special stools and so on.
The Perdiz (Nothura maculosa) is a species of tinamou. This bird is native to grassy habitats in eastern and northern Argentina, Uruguay and eastern or southern Brazil.
It is approximately 24 to 25.5 cm (9.4–10.0 in) in length. The upper parts are brown with streaked buff. The under parts are buff streaked with black and brown on the breast, with barring to the flanks. Its crown is black streaked with buff and the throat is white. The overall hue in colour varies greatly over its range; in part caused by the differences in soil at the specific localities. It and the closely related Chaco nothura, N. chacoensis, are the onlynothuras with barring to both webs of the primaries. The legs are dull yellowish-grey or brown.
The Argentinean perdiz eats plants, typically seeds, and animal matter. In Argentina they seem to eat more of the animal matter then they do in other locations.
The call of the perdiz (spotted nothura) is a series of brief high-pitched notes.
This species can reproduce rapidly, as the female is mature within 2 months and can have five to six broods per year. The male does not mature as fast. The male will incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. Like most tinamous, its eggs have a spectacular glossy porcelain-like shell. This is colored a rich maroon or chocolate brown in this species. The clutch contains 4-6 eggs.
All tinamou are from the family Tinamidae, and in the larger scheme are also ratites. Unlike other ratites, tinamous can fly, although in general, they are not strong fliers. All ratites evolved from prehistoric flying birds, and tinamous are the closest living relative of these birds.
They live in the wild grasslands of Argentina and it is one of the four bird species allowed to hunt in our country.
As for hunting, it represents one of the most challenging hunts of our upland birds. Hunters walk along the fields following pointer dogs which find and point these birds before they flash them when the hunter is close enough to be at shotgun shooting range.
The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Western Asiaand Central Asia. It is a mammal adapted to temperate, open country like the grasslands of center Argentina where it was introduced more than a century ago. It is related to and looks very similar to the European rabbit, which is in the same family but in a different genus. Hares are larger than the European rabbit, have longer ears and hind legs and breed on the ground rather than in a burrow. They rely on speed to escape from predators.
Generally nocturnal and shy in nature, hares change their behaviour in the spring, when they can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around fields and meadows. During this spring frenzy, they can be seen striking one another with their paws ("boxing"). For a long time, this had been thought to be competition between males, but closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male, either to show she is not yet ready to mate or as a test of his determination. This species has a fairly long breeding season which lasts from January to August. Hares are herbivorous and feed on grasses, herbs, twigs, buds, bark and field crops. Their natural predators include birds of prey, canids and felids.
The European hare is one of the largest living members of Lagomorpha. Its head and body length can range from 48 to 75 cm (19 to 30 in) with a tail length of 7 to 13 cm (2.8 to 5.1 in). The body mass can range from 2.5 to 7 kg (5.5 to 15.4 lb). As with all leporids, the hare has elongated ears which, in this species, ranges from 9.4 to 11.0 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in) from the notch. It also has long hind feet that have a length from 14 to 16 cm (5.5 to 6.3 in). The fur color is grizzled yellow-brown on the back; rufous on the shoulders, legs, neck and throat; white on the underside and black on the tail and ear tips. The European hare’s fur does not turn completely white in the winter, although the sides of the head and base of the ears do develop white areas. The limb musculature of hares is adapted for high-speed endurance running in open areas. By contrast, cottontail rabbits are built for short bursts of speed in more covered habitats.
Hares are primarily nocturnal and spend a third of their time foraging. During daytime, a hare will hide in a depression called a "form" where it is partially hidden. Hares can run at 70 km/h (43 mph) and when confronted by predators they rely on outrunning them in the open. Hares may be preyed on by canids, felids and birds of prey.They are generally thought of as asocial but can be seen in both large and small groups. They do not appear to be territorial, living in shared home ranges of around 300 ha (740 acres). Hares communicate with each other by a variety of visual signals. To show interest they raise their ears, while lowering the ears warns others to keep away. When challenging a conspecific, a hare will thump its front feet; the hind feet are used to warn others of a predator. A hare will squeal when hurt or scared and a female will make "guttural" calls to attract her young.
European hares are primarily herbivorous. During the summer, they eat grasses, herbs and field crops. Their preference is for wild grasses and weeds but with the intensification of agriculture, they have taken to feeding on crops. During the winter, they eat herbage, twigs, buds and the bark of shrubs and young fruit trees.
An individual female may have three litters in a year with a 41 to 42 day gestation period.
As for hunting, hunters usually shoot them when they walk for perdiz so both species are potential prays during this kind of hunting over dogs.
The common names pigeon and dove are often used interchangeably. In ornithology, "dove" tends to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones. They usually make nests of sticks, and their two white eggs are incubated by both the male and the female parent. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants.
The Eared Dove, Zenaida auriculata, is a New World tropical dove. It is seen throughout South America from Colombia to southern Argentina and Chile, and on the offshore islands from the Grenadines southwards. It appears to be partly migratory, but it may only be when it needs more food. In Argentina, where agriculture is very well developed and therefore doves have abundant food they live permanently in the same areas, roosting in the brushy areas nearby the crops. When it lays its eggs, it builds a small stick nest several meters up in a tree.
Doves are distributed everywhere on Earth, except for the driest areas of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica and its surrounding islands and the high Arctic. They have colonised most of the world's oceanic islands, reaching eastern Polynesia and the Chatham Islands in the Pacific, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
The family has adapted to most of the habitats available on the planet. These species may be arboreal or terrestrial or partly terrestrial. Species live in savannas, grasslands, deserts, temperate woodlands and forests, mangrove forests, and even the barren sands and gravels of atolls. Some species have large natural ranges.
Males have grey color on top of the head and light pink/ golden color in the chest; Another important fact about males is that they perform a very peculiar singing. Females have a little bit darker color, that is no different to normal plumage colors and certainly not sing.
Regarding reproduction, they are very prolific. They used to nest once per year (in the Southern hemisphere spring) but because a combination of different factors such the abundance of food and a very amazing self defense mechanism to breed faster due to the heavy hunting pressure applied by the sportive hunters, they started to breed twice per year (spring and fall).
Now, in some areas of Argentina they breed throughout the year.
Because the boom of agriculture in Argentina doves' population started to grow very rapidly, reaching a high volume of individuals in the most productive provinces of the country, becoming in a serious problem to the farmers due to the damage that the big flocks cause to the crops. They are considered as a National pest of Argentina and that's why they don't have any special hunting season: they can be shot all year round.
Several species of doves are used as food, and probably any might be. The powerful breast muscles of the family make excellent meat.
Patagioenas picazuro is a brown bird with white dashes on the back of its neck and darker brown wing patterns. It is similar in appearance to the spotted dove.
The picazuro pigeon is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 5,800,000 km2 and although an accurate population count has not taken place, it is believed that the species is common and the population is thought to be increasing. Picazuro pigeons survive in a variety of habitats; from woodland and forest to agricultural land.
This species feeds mainly on the ground and like most other pigeons eats seeds and grain.
Picazuro pigeons nest in every month of the year. A fragile nest is built from sticks and one egg is laid. Both parents incubate the egg. Once the egg has hatched, the chick is fed on crop milk and then regurgitated seeds.
Regarding hunting, they represent a very attractive species due to its ability to respond to the decoys and because it is more skittish and elusive than doves.
Viscachas or vizcachas are rodents of two genera (Lagidium and Lagostomus) in the family Chinchillidae. They are chinchillas, and look similar to rabbits, apart from their longer tails. The five extant species of viscacha are:
- The plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus), a resident of the pampas of Argentina, is easily differentiated from other viscachas by black and gray mustache-like facial markings. This species lives colonially in warrens of 10 to over 100. It is very vocal and emits alarm calls. The plains viscacha can strip grassland used to graze livestock; this caused ranchers to consider the rodent a pest species.
- Lagidium ahuacaense is a newly described species of mountain viscacha from the Ecuadorean Andes.
- The northern viscacha (Lagidium peruanum) is native to the Peruvian Andes at elevations between the tree line and the snow line. It is dorsally gray or brown in color, with a bushy tail and long, furry ears. This species lives in large colonies separated into individual family units, like an apartment complex. It eats a wide range of plant matter, settling for almost anything it can find growing in the harsh, rocky environment.
- The southern viscacha (Lagidium viscacia), also called mountain viscacha, is similar to the northern viscacha, but its pelage is more red in color. It lives in similar habitat in the Andes.
- Wolffsohn's viscacha (Lagidium wolffsohni) are more rare than the other four viscachas.
The plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus) lives on sparse grasslands, or Pampas, in Argentina, Paraguay, and southeastern Bolivia at altitudes up to nearly 3,000 metres. It resembles a huge guinea pig, with a large, blunt head, a body length of 47 to 66 cm, and a short tail (15 to 20 cm). Females weigh up to 4.5 kg and males up to 8 kg. Coarse guard hairs mingle with soft underfur. Upper parts vary from dark gray to pale brown; underparts are white. Broad black and white stripes—including a moustache—mark the face. There are four large, strong digits on the front feet but only three on the hind feet. Unlike mountain viscachas, the plains viscacha is nocturnal. It is colonial and digs elaborate burrow systems called vizcacheras with its forelegs, pushing the soil away with its nose and marking the entrances with piles of anything it can carry, including sticks, stones, bones, dung, and other objects. Although it will eat any vegetation, seeds and grasses are preferred, which makes the viscacha a pest to ranchers, especially because the burrows are hazardous to both humans and livestock. Plains viscachas are fast and, when pursued, alternate their running with sharp turns and long leaps. Gestation takes about four months, and litters contain one to four young, though two is usual.
They represent a very attractive target for the enthusiastic varmint shooters who shoot them with the last light of the day when they go out of the holes where they live. Can be also shot during the night with the moonlight or spotlight.