Saturday 18 May
Patagonian negrito (Lessonia rufa)
Patagonian negrito fact file
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Patagonian negrito description
Described by Darwin as a “common, inoffensive little bird” (3), the Patagonian negrito remains widespread and fairly abundant through much of southern South America (2) (4). The male Patagonian negrito is mostly all black with the exception of a highly distinctive patch of rufous-chestnut on its back. In contrast, the female has a brownish-grey head and neck, dull rufous-brown back, mostly black wings, and dull ashy grey underparts (2) (4). Juveniles are very similar to the female, but have more rufous on the back (2).
- Also known as
- Austral negrito.
- Length: 11.5 - 12.5 cm (2)
- American Bird Conservancy:
- BirdLife International:
- IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2004) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Gould, J. and Darwin, C.R. (1839) Birds: Part 3 No. 4 of The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. Smith Elder and Co, London. Available at:
- Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1994) The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. Volume II. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
- BirdLife International (May, 2009)
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Patagonian negrito biology
This highly active species is essentially terrestrial but is often seen perching on low bushes or fences, and commonly stands on rocks and small mounds. Running about on the ground in short, restless bursts, it usually pursues its insect prey with brief flutters into the air (2) (4).
Breeding occurs from September to January, with populations in the far south tending to breed later than those in the north. The male displays by fluttering upwards 10 to 15 metres into the air. After mating, the female lays between two to four eggs in a small open nest made of twigs, small branches and roots, and usually positioned below overhanging vegetation on the ground or on a cliff ledge (2). The males have no role in the raising of young, and consequently leave the breeding grounds well before the females, which remain to care for the young (2) (4). Once the young have fledged and are capable of travelling long distances, they too migrate northwards with the female (2).Top
Patagonian negrito range
The Patagonian negrito breeds in central Chile and Argentina, south to Tierra del Fuego, but during the winter migrates north into northern Chile and Argentina, southern and eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and extreme south-eastern Brazil (2) (4).Top
Patagonian negrito habitat
Usually found in open areas with short grass or bare soil, near marshes and coastal lagoons and beaches. Although this typically comprises elevations below 1,000 metres, in some areas it can occur as high as 2,000 metres above sea level (2) (4).Top
Patagonian negrito status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Patagonian negrito threatsTop
Patagonian negrito conservation
Although there are no known conservation measures in place for the Patagonian negrito, it is occurs in numerous national parks across its range (2).Top
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