A very active species, the Magellanic plover is commonly encountered foraging in small flocks along the seashore during the winter, or alone or in pairs on the shores of lakes during the breeding season (2). It displays a number of behaviours that are unique amongst waders, including digging into sand or mud with its powerful legs to find prey such as small crustaceans and the worm-like larvae of chironomid flies (2) (4). Prey is also taken from the surface and from beneath upturned pebbles, stones and shells (2).
After spending the winter at the coast, the Magellanic plover migrates inland, usually to highland areas. Nests are constructed by the breeding pairs on wide clay or pebble shores of lakes and ponds, and comprise a simple scrape lined with gravel, close to the water. Both the nesting site and the area in which the pair feed are fiercely defended from encroachment by conspecifics. The female lays a clutch of two eggs which are incubated by both parent birds (2). Once hatched, the chicks are fed by regurgitation of food from the parent birds’ crops, another behaviour which has not been observed in other waders (2) (4). Fledging occurs after around one month, after which the young are fed by the parent birds for a further ten days. The second chick in the clutch is often weak, and frequently dies of starvation (2).