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25 Pictures of Wonderful Wildlife You’ll Find in Chile

ALMA Workers Rescue Abandoned Vicuña Fawn © European Southern Observatory
Picture of Elizabeth Trovall
Updated: 30 March 2017
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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.

Penguins

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
A family of Megallanic penguins
From the Seno Otway penguin colony, Punta Arenas, Chile
Penguin Island in Beagle Channel
A penguin on Punta Arenas

Guanaco

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
A pair of guanacos
Chilean guanaco, a relative of the llama

Flamingos

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.

A lone flamingo. Laguna Chaxa. Atacama. Chile
Chilean flamingoes feeding in the Reserva Nacional los Flamencos
A single flamingo at lake Hedionda
A wading flamingo at laguna Hedionda
Flamingos at sunset

Vicuña

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.

Vicuña: like the guanaco, it’s a close relative of the llama

Culpeo

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.

The culpeo can be found along the length of the South American Pacific coast

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
The Patagonian fox is also known as the South American gray fox

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
Sea lion on Beagle Channel Isle

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.

Patagonian puma

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
Several Peruvian pelicans in Pan de Azucar National Park in Chile
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