Back to top

The Chilean Lake District - A Guide to Animal and Bird Life

The Chilean Lake District is the region that lies between the country's central Mediterranean valleys and its glacial Patagonian south. Aside from the obvious lakes, the region is also known for its verdant native forests and volcano-pocked landscape. The confluence of these elements creates a varied and particular habitat for all kinds of animals and birds, some of which are only found in the Chilean Lake District and nowhere else. Here’s our list of some of the quirky animal life to keep a lookout for on your Chilean Lake District tour!


darwins_frogDarwin’s Frog

Keep your eyes on the ground when exploring the forests of the Chilean Lake District to be in with a chance of sighting this truly weird and wonderful critter. You’re most likely to catch it hanging out in woodland streams doing a surprisingly convincing impression of a dead leaf. What makes this little amphibian extraordinary however, is its unique aproach to tadpole-rearing. Whilst female Darwin’s Frogs lay frogspawn in the conventional way, as soon as the tadpoles hatch the male frog takes them in his mouth and carries them in his vocal sac until they’re strong enough to survive on their own.


slender_billed_parakeetSlender-billed Parakeet

Known locally as the Choroy, this member of the parrot family has a reputation for being sociable and above all noisy, so you may well hear it before you see it. That said, its bright green body, red tail feathers and blue wings ensure that it stands out in the deep temperate rainforests of the Chilean Lake District. The Slender-billed Parakeet tends to be sighted most often in large flocks and are relatively easy to spot in this region since they are not generally afraid of humans.


monito_del_monteMonito del Monte

It may look like a mouse and have a name that translates into English as “little mountain monkey”, but the Monito del Monte is actually a tiny marsupial complete with a small pouch for carrying its young. Its favourite habitat is amongst the bamboo thickets of the Chilean Lake District’s temperate rain forests, where it weaves the waterproof leaves into basket-like nests. The Monito del Monte is also nocturnal, so your best bet of seeing one is during the night when they leave their nests to feed on insects and fruit.


magellanic_woodpeckerMagellanic Woodpecker

This striking woodpecker is found in the Chilean Lake District as well as in the far south of Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia. It is the largest woodpecker in South America and one of the largest in the whole world. Look out for a black body and a crested head. Males have bright red head feathers whilst females’ heads are mainly black. If you’re lucky enough to spot a Magellanic Woodpecker and you’ve got some time on your hands you could even try to engage it in conversation, as demonstrated in this video taken in Chilean Patagonia by David and Katherine Lowrie of the 5,000 mile project.



The secretive Pudu is found throughout southern Chile as far down as Patagonia, but is found in its largest numbers in the misty forests of the Chilean Lake District where it can hide out amongst the dense undergrowth and bamboo thickets. The Pudu is best known as the world’s smallest deer, with individuals reaching 35 to 45 centimetres high at the shoulder, smaller than many domestic dogs! Unfortunately the Pudu is classed as a vulnerable species and can be difficult to observe in the wild as a result, but the Chilean Lake District is a good place to start your search.


Book your tour to the Chilean Lake District now. Or browse our other guides to Chilean flora and fauna!