Hudsonian Godwit




Hudsonian Godwit in South America

Scientific name: Limosa haemastica

Family: Scolopacidae

Spanish name: Becasa de mar

Migration: Nearctic migrant

Population estimate: 70,000 ([1])

Trend: Decreasing / Stable ([1])

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 700 ([1])

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

During the non-breeding season distributed mainly along the Atlantic coast of southern South America, south to Tierra del Fuego and along the Pacific coast of southern Chile. Recorded mainly in coastal areas, but with some records inland for the Pampas of Argentina. Main non-breeding areas located in northern Tierra del Fuego (Bahía San Sebastian and Bahía Lomas) and at Chiloe Island and its surroundings. Considerable numbers also recorded more north at some specific sites along the coast of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil. Some few birds observed in the coasts of central Chile and Peru. Restricted to a few sites during the non-breeding season, most of which host big numbers of birds. Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Bahía San Sebastián, Bahía Bustamante, Bahía San Antonio, Laguna Mar Chiquita, Bahía Unión-Bahía Anegada and Bahía Samborombón in Argentina; Bahía Lomas, Chiloe Island and its surroundings in Chile and Lagoa do Peixe in Brazil (link to Abundances map).


Migration and seasonality

Godwits arrive in South America to sites along the Amazon basin by September. Southward migration occurs through inland South America, mainly along the Western Amazonia and Central Amazonia Flyways, arriving to coastal sites in southern Brazil and northern Argentina between September and November, before to continue the migration to the main non-breeding areas in southern Patagonia. Northward migration starts by late February and early March and follows a different route, with stop-over sites at Estuario de Río Gallegos, Bahía San Antonio and Albúfera Mar Chiquita in Argentina and Lagoa do Peixe in Brazil. Birds wintering at Chiloe Island may follow a different route. Some non-breeders remain in South America during the austral winter (link to Seasonality map).



Associated to estuarine ecosystems, occurring in tidal mudflats, creeks and pools with “cangrejales” (crab colonies), saltmarshes, coastal lagoons and flooded grasslands. Also in inland wetlands during migration.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, sometimes in flocks of thousands of birds in coastal areas and inland wetlands during migration. Low degree of overlapping with human activities, restricted to some coastal areas close to estuaries.



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.

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Canevari, M., P. Canevari, G.R. Carrizo, G. Harris, J. Rodríguez Mata & R. Straneck. 1991. Nueva Guía de las Aves Argentinas. Fundación Acindar. Santiago de Chile. Tome I: 200 pp. and Tome II: 182 pp.

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.

Morrison, R. I. G. and 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, en: 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.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

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

Senner, N.R. 2007. Conservation Plan for the Hudsonian Godwit. Version 1.0. Manomet Center for Conservation Science, Manomet, Massachusetts.

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




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

Data compiler: Ignacio Roesler

Photographer: Pablo F. Petracci

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

([1]) Considering together the two different populations identified for North America.




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Hudsonian Godwit



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