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Magellanic Plover Pluvianellus socialis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small global population which is threatened by predation plus degradation of its breeding and wintering habitat. It is classified as Near Threatened as there is presently no evidence that a decline is taking place.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

18-20 cm. Plump and subtly coloured dove-like wader. Pale grey above, dusky lores. Broad silvery grey breast band, getting darker towards distal end. Paler throat; rest of underparts white. White tail with dusky central rectrices and narrow whitish bar on dark grey wing, visible in flight. Dark bill. Bright red eye and pinker legs. Juvenile with buffy mottling on the grey parts. Similar spp. No other wader with that shape shares its unstreaked plumage pattern. Voice Rather vocal, delivers soft dove-like whistles and other calls. Hints Tame but hard to find. Always on the move in pebble lake-shores. The voice aids in locating it.

Distribution and population
Pluvianellus socialis is local and partially resident in the extreme south of Chile and south Argentina, with part of the population wintering north to the Valdés peninsula, south-central Argentina, and sometimes as far as Buenos Aires province (Narosky et al. 1993, Chiurla 1996, Piersma 1996a). The population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 birds (R. Schlatter in litt. 2002 to Wetlands International), and other estimates suggest it may be considerably smaller. Significant recent concentrations of non-breeding birds have included 145 and 123 on the Gallego and Chico estuaries respectively (Argentina) in 1999 (Ferrari et al. 2003).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 individuals, and so is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals (R. Schlatter in litt. 2002). This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

It breeds on the open shores of freshwater or brackish lakes and shallow pools, and perhaps sometimes by rivers, in steppe-like regions up to 1,200 m, but generally at lower elevations in the south. Outside the breeding season, it occurs along rivers (Imberti 2003) and on the coast, mostly in sheltered bays, lagoons and river mouths. It feeds primarily on tiny arthropods during the breeding season, with chironomid larvae apparently forming the staple food in winter, when it forages in small flocks (Piersma 1996a).

There are few apparent reasons for its scarcity. However, the destruction and degradation of natural grassland in Patagonia by grazing livestock and introduced herbivores must have had some impact on mainland breeding habitat, and numbers are perhaps limited by the carrying capacity of the hostile environment (Fjeldså 1988, Dinerstein et al. 1995, S. Imberti in litt. 1999). Trampling of nests and chicks by grazing animals is a potential threat which has been observed in Magellanic Oystercatcher (Ferrari et al. 2003). It may be particularly vulnerable to human disturbance and further potential threats in the non-breeding season include predation by feral cats and dogs and the degradation of estuarine habitat due to oil spills, garbage dumping and sewage (Ferrari et al. 2003). 

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. In Argentina, it breeds in Tierra del Fuego and Perito Moreno National Parks, and Bosques Petrificados Natural Monument, and it is also found in Magallanes and Laguna de los Cisnes National Reserves, Chile. Conservation Actions Proposed
Systematically survey known sites and search for the species in potentially suitable habitat. Continue monitoring on Gallegos and Chico estuaries and extend monitoring to other areas of likely high importance such as Santa Cruz estuary and river. Study its ecology and research threats. Increase protection at key breeding and wintering sites.

Chiurla, E. H. 1996. Nuevos registros del Chorlito Ceniciento (Pluvianellus socialis) en la provincia de Buenos Aires. Nuestras Aves 35: 35-36.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Ferrari, S.; Imberti, S.; Albrieu, C. 2003. Magellanic Plovers Pluvianellus socialis in southern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Wader Study Group Bulletin 101/102: 70-76.

Fjeldså, J. 1988. Status of birds of steppe habitats of the Andean zone and Patagonia. In: Goriup, P.D. (ed.), Ecology and conservation of grassland birds, pp. 81-95. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Imberti, S. 2003. Notes on the distribution and natural history of some birds in Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego Provinces, Patagonia, Argentina. Cotinga 19: 15-24.

Narosky, T.; Di Giacomo, A. G.; Babaraskas, M. 1993. Presencia invernal de Pluvianellus socialis en la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hornero 13: 309-310.

Piersma, T. 1996. Charadriidae (Plovers). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 384-442. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Wetlands International. 2002. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Butchart, S., Capper, D., Mazar Barnett, J., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Imberti, I., Schlatter, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pluvianellus socialis. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Magellanic plover (Pluvianellus socialis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Pluvianellidae (Magellanic Plover)
Species name author Gray, 1846
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 88,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species