Lesser Yellowlegs




Lesser Yellowlegs in South America

Scientific name: Tringa flavipes

Family: Scolopacidae

Spanish name: Playero menor patas amarillas

Migration: Nearctic migrant

Population estimate: 400,000

Trend: Decreasing

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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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.

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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.

Olrog, C.C. 1963. Lista y distribución de las aves argentinas. Opera Lilloana IX, Tucumán.

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.

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



Click on the map to enlarge