25 Pictures of Wonderful Wildlife You’ll Find in Chile

ALMA Workers Rescue Abandoned Vicuña Fawn © European Southern Observatory
ALMA Workers Rescue Abandoned Vicuña Fawn © European Southern Observatory
Photo of Elizabeth Trovall
30 March 2017

From the northern Atacama desert to Chile’s slice of Antarctica in the south, wonderful and diverse wildlife can be spotted throughout this long and skinny country. Chile’s unique territory cuts through many different geographical regions where visitors can bare witness to some of South America’s stunning biodiversity.


Four different types of penguins live in Chile, though the Magellanic penguin boasts the largest population of them all, with 800,000 breeding pairs in the southernmost part of the country. These stunning creatures are easy to check out near Punta Arenas at either Seno Otway or Magdalena Island, or on Chiloé Island’s Playa Mar Brava. Other Chilean penguin species include the Rockhopper, Macaroni and Humboldt penguins.

Waterboat Point, Antarctica | © Liam Quinn
A family of Megallanic penguins | © Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero/Flickr
IMG_0486y | © Sandi
Tierra-del-Fuego-1684 | © CucombreLibre
pingüino rey. | © Jose Luis Hidalgo R.


These relatives of the llama are easy to spot at Torres del Paine National Park, though they inhabit many areas all along the Andes mountain range. The name for these brown and white-bellied cuties, “guanaco,” is Quechua in origin. Native to South America, these camelids live in herds of either females, babies and an alpha male, or a separate herd of all males.

Herd of Guanaco in Chile | © Rachel Hobday
A pair of Guanacos | © Leonora (Ellie) Enking
guanaco Lama guanicoe | © Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble


Northern Chile’s bright pink flamingos add another flash of color to the stunning shades of northern Chile’s Atacama desert, which offers unique views and topography. Three different types of flamingos are common to northern Chile, the Andean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, and the James flamingo.

flamenco y volcán | © troita_<><
20120618_Chile_3410 Atacama | © Dan Lundberg
Hedionda Solo | © Anthony Tong Lee
DSC_2309.jpg | © vincentraal
Flamingos at sunset | © Vera & Jean-Christophe


Like the guanaco, the vicuña is also an Andes-inhabiting camelid and relative of the llama. The animal can mainly be found in northern Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador. The fine wool of vicuñas was highly valued in Incan society and the vicuña continues to be an important animal in Peru as the country’s national animal.

El Tatio 2015 | © @Chile_Satelital


The culpeo or Andean fox can be identified by its reddish-gray fur and white chin. These foxes are most commonly spotted in the Andes mountains. They occupy nearly the entire Pacific coast of South America, with populations found in southern Colombia all the way down through Chilean Patagonia.

Culpeo_MC | © Christian Mehlführer/WikiCommons
Lycalopex culpaeus 00 | © Rodrigo Fernández

South American gray fox

The South American gray fox, or Patagonian fox is endemic to southern Chile and Argentina and tends to live on either side of the Andes mountains. Smaller than the culpeo, the South American gray fox is actually a Lycalopex, or “false fox.”

Patagonian Fox - Pen.Valdez 0002 | © Francesco Veronesi
chile-trip-356 | © ilya_ktsn

South American sea lion

These barbaric beasts of the sea can be found throughout the Chilean coast, north to south, and on the coasts of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Full of personality, these monsters are fun to observe near any Chilean fish market on the coast.

Beagle Channel Sea Lion | © David
Sea Lions | © Ulrich Peters
Sea Lion Beagle Channel Isle | © David
Ushuaia | © Lisa Weichel

Patagonian puma

This fierce Chilean big cat is one of the many species of puma or mountain lion around the world. Patagonia’s biggest predator, the Patagonian puma often hunts the guanaco and lives in regions of southern Chile.

Puma | © Gonzalo Baeza

Peruvian pelican

The Peruvian pelican is a large, fish-loving bird that lives on South America’s west coast in Peru and Chile. These birds are often seen in Caleta Pan de Azúcar in northern Chile.

Pelícano en Caleta Pan de Azúcar | © Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel
Several Peruvian pelicans in Pan de Azucar National Park in Chile September 2009 | © Jason Quinn

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