Attagis gayi I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Lesson, 1831, Santiago, Chile. Three subspecies recognized.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Gay’s seedsnipe; French: Attagis de Gay; German: Rotbauch-Hцhenlдufer; Spanish: Agachona Grande, Agachona Ventrirrufa.
10–11 in (27–30 cm); 10.6–14.1 oz (300–400 g). Upperparts, wing lining, and breast with cryptic pattern of blackish, buff, and whitish. Dorsal feathers mostly black in A. g. latreilli and densely vermiculated in the southern forms. Belly is rufous (in A. g. latreilli) or pinkish cinnamon; it is palest in A. g. gayi. Vent densely barred in A. g. latreilli and plain or faintly barred in the southern forms. In flight, it shows no wingbar. Juvenile like adult but with more finely vermiculated upperparts.
A. g. gayi: the Andes from Tierra del Fuego to northern Chile and Argentina, above 3,300 ft (1,000 m) in the south, above 6,600 ft (2,000 m) further north; A. g. simonsi: above 13,000 ft (4,000 m) in the Andes from northern Argentina and Chile through Bolivia to central Peru; A. g. latreilli: above 14,000 ft (4,300 m) in the Andes of Ecuador.
Rocky slopes with scattered cushion plants near the snowline, scree with scattered low herbs, alpine bogs.
In pairs or small groups, rarely larger flocks. Emits loud cackling vocalizations in flight.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Quietly browses on buds and leaf tips of herbs and cushion plants.
Monogamous. Nest is a crude scrape with little or no lining. Four eggs, covered with earth when not incubated.
rarely visited by humans. Range includes several national parks and reserves. Numbers locally decimated by hunting in the vicinity of mines.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
None known except for hunting very locally.
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