Lesser Yellowlegs in South America
Scientific name: Tringa flavipes
Spanish name: Playero menor patas amarillas
Migration: Nearctic migrant
Population estimate: 400,000
Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 4,000
IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status
Distribution and abundances
During the non-breeding season widely distributed in South America south to Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan. Recorded in coastal and inland areas, with abundances varying from solitary birds to concentrations of more than 1,000 birds. Most heavily concentrated in the north coast of the continent, with the major non-breeding areas located in the Guianas, specially in Suriname (estimates of 100,000 birds). Considerable abundances were also recorded in the Pampas (Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santa Fe provinces, in Argentina) and in the Presidente Hayes department in Paraguay (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: the coasts of Suriname, Laguna Mar Chiquita in Argentina and Lago Junín in Peru.
Migration and seasonality
Arrives in South America in late August, while northward migration starts in March. Migration occurs along the major north-south river valleys and the sea shore; mainly along the Central Brazil, the Central Amazonia / Pantanal and the Western Amazonia flyways. Many non-breeders remain in South America during the northern summer (link to Seasonality map).
Inland and coastal wetlands -usually with emergent vegetation (palustrine)-, including estuarine mudflats, fresh-water marshes, saltmarshes, lagoons, flooded grasslands, mangroves stands, ricefields, sewage beds and man-made reservoirs.
Habits and interactions with human activities
Found in small numbers in natural or man-made fresh-water wetlands in the surroundings of human houses in rural areas, close to the cattle and poultry. Besides, it is one of the most common species in rice fields of southern South America, but it is not considered a pest species.
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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.
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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: Roberto Guller
Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Lesser Yellowlegs 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: Lesser Yelowlwgs