Pectoral Sandpiper




Pectoral Sandpiper in South America

Scientific name: Calidris melanotos

Family: Scolopacidae

Spanish name: Playerito pectoral

Migration: Nearctic migrant

Population estimate: 25,000-100,000

Trend: Stable

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

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 north of Santa Cruz province in Argentina, with some scattered records in Tierra del Fuego. Greater abundances correspond to the Pampas of Argentina, Paraguay and some sites through the Puna of northwest Argentina, western Bolivia and southern Peru (link to Abundances map). Notable abundances were also recorded in rice fields of Santa Fe province in Argentina, with densities of 2,48 birds/ha. Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are Lago Poopo in Bolivia; Lagunas Saladas and Laguna Sanidad in Paraguay and Laguna El Cristal in Argentina.


Migration and seasonality

First birds arrive to Buenos Aires province in Argentina by late August, while northward migration starts by February-March. Migration occurs along the major north-south river valleys, mainly along the Western Amazonia, Central Amazonia / Pantanal, Central Brazil and High Andes flyways (highlands of Ecuador and Colombia) (link to Seasonality map).



Inland freshwater and blackish wetlands, wet / flooded grasslands, margins of lagoons and fresh-water marshes -including bogs and open grasslands of the High Andes (3,500-4,500 m)- and rice fields, mainly during the first stages of the rice cycle. Uncommon in coastal habitats.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, but in small and medium size groups, sometimes mixed with other shorebird species like yellowlegs and plovers. A common species in rice fields of southern South America, but not considered a pest.



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, 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.

De la Peña, M.R. & M. Rumboll. 1998. Birds of southern South America and Antarctica. Collins Illustrated Checklist. Harper-Collins Pub. London.

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.

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.

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: Diego Monteleone

Photographer: Roberto Guller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Pectoral Sandpiper 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: Pectoral Sandpiper



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