American Golden Plover




American Golden Plover in South America

Scientific name: Pluvialis dominica

Family: Charadriidae

Spanish name: Chorlo pampa

Migration: Nearctic migrant

Population estimate: 200,000

Trend: Decreasing

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 2,000

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status




Distribution and abundances

During the non-breeding season mainly distributed in central South America, east of the Cordillera de los Andes. Main non-breeding areas are located in the Pampas of Argentina and along the coastal plain of Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, with some few individuals migrating south to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Also recorded in Paraguay during the southward migration and in High Andes lakes of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Bahía Samborombón, Albúfera Mar Chiquita, Estancia Medaland and Laguna Mar Chiquita in Argentina, and Lagoa do Peixe in Brazil.


Migration and seasonality

This plover shows an elliptical migratory pattern. Southward migration is along Central Amazonia and Central Brazil Flyways, with small numbers visiting the Andes, and arriving to the main non-breeding quarters in the Pampas by late August early September. The northward migration starts by February and occurs along the High Andes and Western Amazonia Flyways, where large numbers can be seen around 4,000 m in the Altiplanos of northwest Argentina, Bolivia and Peru by March/April. Small numbers migrate along the Pacific coast of South America. Some few birds overwintering in lakes of the high Andes of Peru (link to Seasonality map).



Typical grassland shorebird. Main non-breeding habitats are short grasslands and pastures under cattle or sheep grazing. Also found in other inland and coastal habitats, like fresh-water marshes and lagoons, estuaries, mudflats and tidal creeks, ploughed fields and rice fields during the first stages of rice cycle. Roosting in saltmarshes and near lagoons. Recorded in grasslands up to 1,200 m. In the Andes mainly in wide shore meadows near lakes.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, big numbers in rural areas where cattle / sheep raising on natural pastures are the main activity; common in open grasslands in association with the Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis). Solitary in coastal beaches. Uncommon in agricultural fields, but recorded in big numbers in rice fields of Brazil and Uruguay during the flooding period.



Antas, P.T.Z. 1983. Migration of nearctic shorebirds (Charadriidae and Scolopacidae) in Brasil ‑ flyways and their different seasonal use. Wader Study Group Bull. 39: 52-56.

Bent, A.C. 1962. Life Histories of North American Shore Birds. Part I. Dover Publications INC. New York.

Blanco, D.E., B. López-Lanús, R.A. Dias, A. Azpiroz & F. Rilla. 2006. Uso de arroceras por chorlos y playeros migratorios en el sur de América del Sur. Implicancias de conservación y manejo. Wetlands International. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Canevari, P., G. Castro, M. Sallaberry & L.G. Naranjo. 2001. Guía de los chorlos y playeros de la Región Neotropical. ABC, WWF-US, WA, MBO & Asociación Calidris, Cali, Colombia.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Fjeldsa, J. & N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hayman, P., J. Marchant & T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds. Christopher Helm, London.

Johnson, O.W. & P.G. Connors. 1996. American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica) and Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva); in Poole A. & F. Gill (Eds): The birds of North America, Nos. 201 and 202. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

Morrison, R. I. G. & R. K. Ross. 1989. Atlas of Neartic Shorebirds on the Coast of South America. Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication, Ottawa.

Nores, M. 1989. Situación y rutas de vuelo de los playeros migratorios en Argentina; in: Taller de campo sobre ambientes acuáticos y técnicas de estudio, captura, marcado y manejo de chorlos migratorios. Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina y Manomet Bird Observatory.

Ridgely, R.S., T. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, R.E. Young & R. Zook. 2003. Digital distribution maps on the birds of the Western Hemisphere. Version 1.0. Nature-Serve, Arlington, Virginia.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Pablo F. Petracci

Photographer: Roberto Guller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. American Golden Plover in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.





Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: American Golden Plover



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