Tuesday 18 June
Magellanic plover (Pluvianellus socialis)
Magellanic plover fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Magellanic plover description
A rare and attractive wading bird, the Magellanic plover has a plump, dove-like body with soft, pale grey plumage on the head and upper body (3) (4). The upper breast is silvery grey, often with a brown tinge, while the underparts are uniform white (2) (3). In contrast to the subtle plumage tones, the eyes are bright red while the noticeably short legs are pink (2). The juvenile resembles the adult, but has buffy mottling on the upperparts, yellow legs and orange-grey eyes (2) (3).
- Length: 19.5 – 21.5 cm (2)
Magellanic plover biology
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).Top
Magellanic plover range
Breeding populations of the Magellanic plover are found in extreme southern Chile and southern Argentina (2) (3). While some individuals reside in this area throughout the year, others winter further north in the Valdés peninsula, south-central Argentina, and sometimes as far as Buenos Aires province (3).Top
Magellanic plover habitat
During the breeding season, the Magellanic plover is found on the open shores of freshwater or brackish lakes and shallow pools in areas of grassland at elevations of up to 1,200 metres. Outside the breeding season, this species generally migrates to the coast, where it inhabits sheltered bays, lagoons and river mouths (2) (3).Top
Magellanic plover status
Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Magellanic plover threats
Although not considered to be globally threatened, the Magellanic plover has a small population, estimated to be fewer than 10,000 birds (3), and potentially as low as 1,500 (2). Although it has been impacted by the destruction and degradation of its grassland breeding habitat by grazing livestock and introduced herbivores, this is unlikely to account for its low numbers. It may be that the Magellanic plover’s environment, which is relatively inhospitable, naturally limits its population size (3). Nevertheless, further threats to this species may include trampling of nests and chicks by grazing animals, predation by feral cats and dogs, and pollution from oil spills, garbage dumping and sewage (3) (5).Top
Magellanic plover conservation
The Magellanic plover is located in several protected areas in Argentina and Chile, which should help to limit disturbance and habitat destruction. Further surveys should be undertaken to try and find this species in areas of suitable habitat, and its ecology and threats should be studied in more detail. In addition, the monitoring of existing populations that is currently occurring on Gallegos and Chico estuaries should be continued and extended to other key sites (3).Top
Find out more
To learn more about conservation initiatives within the Magellanic plover’s range visit:
- Conservacion Patagonia:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgTop
- Slightly salty water.
- Individuals that belong to the same species.
- The crop is an expanded, muscular pouch near the throat. It is a part of the digestive tract, and is used to temporarily store food.
- IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- BirdLife International (June, 2009)
- Kampf, R. (1996) A note on the feeding behaviour of Magellanic Plover Pluvianellus socialis. Wader Study Group Bulletin, 80: 78 - .
- Ferrari, S., Imberti, S. and Albrieu, C. (2003) Magellanic Plovers Pluvianellus socialis in southern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Wader Study Group Bulletin, 101: 1 - 7.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.