Least Seedsnipe

These cryptic little things are strange. Like a cross between a lark, a dove, and a sandgrouse. I'd never seee one, despite the years driving across the Patagonia steppe, until something tumbled up from the dust and bounced off the windscreen. We stopped and hunted through the gravel and there she was, looking a little stunned - for only one or two cars a week come down this route, in the deep south western corner of Argentine Patagonia. A few minutes in the car revived the bird and we released her into the big winds rattling across the steppe, where she disappeared among the sea-rolled gravel and stunted berberis.

Endemic to the southern cone and Andes, seedsnipes are an oddball clade. There are only 4 species and their closest relative is the equally odd Plains Wanderer, from which they split around 40mya.

Looking out over some prime seedsnipe habitat;

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I work in NYC and own a wildlife and wilderness agency specializing in the southern cone of South America. I still do some guiding down there, especially looking for Fuegian and Patagonian avifauna. I'm particularly interested in the wintering ecology of neotropical migrants, and in avian biogeography in general. You can follow me at - @domhall And find me at - AventuraArgentina.com