Thinocorus rumicivorus Eschscholtz, 1829, Concepciуn Bay, Chile. Three subspecies recognized (T. r. cuneidauda, T. r. bolivianus, and T. r. rumicivorus) that differ in size, hue, and details of vermiculations on the upperparts. A fourth, T. r. pallidus, from the Santa Elena peninsula in southwestern Ecuador is often listed, but it appears to be inseparable from T. r. cuneicauda.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Chilean seedsnipe, Patagonian seedsnipe, Pygmy seedsnipe; French: Thinocore de Patagonie; German: Zwerghцhenlдufer; Spanish: Agachona Chica.
6–7 in (16–17 cm), T. r. bolivianus 8 in (19–20 cm); 1.8–2.1 oz (50–60 g). Much like gray-breasted seedsnipe. Upperparts with cryptic pattern of whitish, buff, and dusky; light borders narrowest in juvenile. Throat and belly white, demarcated with blackish (more broadly so than in gray-breasted seedsnipe) towards face and breast, which are gray in male and streaked dusky and buff in female. Male with blackish borders of throat and breast connected by blackish line down center of breast. Tail prominently white-tipped and distinctly wedge-shaped. In flight shows a faint white wingbar above and a broad white wingbar below, contrasting with the dark wing linings. Juveniles much like females, but white throat not distinctly demarcated and breast diffusely spotted rather than streaked.
T. r. cuneicauda: coastal desert of Peru and extreme northern Chile, and, at least formerly, southwestern Ecuador; T. r. bolivianus: altiplano of northwestern Argentina, Bolivia, and northern Chile; T. r. rumicivorus: lowlands to 3,900 ft (1,200 m) in Patagonia and southern Chile where partly migratory, wintering north as far as the plains of northeastern Argentina and Uruguay, the mountains of Cуrdoba (to above 6,600 ft [2,000 m]) and Atacama, Chile.
Sandy areas with scattered bunch grass, low herbs, and succulents. In Patagonia, often on wide gravelly shores and areas with tiny annual herbs around partly dry claypan lakes. In Bolivia, in highland semidesert. In Peru, in sparse fog vegetation of coastal desert. Often on cultivated land.
In pairs or family groups, in winter in larger flocks. Territorial males countersing from tops of bushes or fence posts. Display flight much like that of gray-breasted seedsnipe. When flushed, flies with snipe-like zigzag flight.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Like gray-breasted seedsnipe, browses on tips or buds of young grass, succulents, and small herbs, which are swallowed whole.
Probably multibrooded. Young apparently sexually mature when four months old and possibly breed the same season they were hatched. Nest is a simple scrape loosely lined with plant debris. Four eggs, covered with earth or nest-lining material when not incubated. Length of incubation period about 26 days. Both parents guard the young, which fly when seven weeks old.
Apparently favored by sheep grazing in Patagonia and irrigation in the Peruvian desert. Common to locally abundant in Patagonia. Ten specimens were collected on the Santa Elena peninsula in southwestern Ecuador in 1898. Although taken in January and February (the presumed breeding season), all were in fresh plumage and may have been mere stragglers from Peru. Subsequently there are but two possible sightings from Ecuador. If those ten specimens did breed in Ecuador, the reason for their disappearance remains unknown because plenty of seemingly suitable habitat persists.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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