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Tawny-throated Dotterel
Oreopholus ruficollis

Tawny-throated Dotterel
Chorlo Cabezón
Oreopholus ruficollis
Length: 275mm. Sexes alike. Bill black; iris dark brown; upper forehead crossed by a broad band extending above the eye to the sides of the nape, whitish cinnamon in colour; lores, upper malar region and chin whitish cinnamon stretching below the eye to the top part of auriculars; from the base of the bill a blackish band stretches from the centre of lores to the ocular region, continuing behind the eye to the sides of the nape; throat, auriculars and upper foreneck reddish cinnamon; remainder of forehead, crown and nape greyish brown washed with cinnamon; throat and breast buffy grey; flanks and abdomen cinnamon buff; the centre of the abdomen is black; undertail coverts whitish buff; back and scapulars cinnamon buff striated blackish brown; lower back and rump uniform cinnamon brown; uppertail coverts cinnamon brown, the longer feathers tipped with whitish; centre tail feathers grey with subterminal black band and broad cinnamon grey terminal band; lateral tail feathers on cinnamon base almost halfway, followed by grey colour with subterminal black band and cinnamon grey terminal band; wing coverts as back; primary and secondary remiges dark brown, primaries show a white band along rachis and half the inner vexillum is white along its length; secondaries show a thin whitish terminal band; tertiaries are dark brown with buffy margins; underwing coverts and axillaries white; legs deep pink. Juveniles: similar coloration to adults but duller.
Habitat and behaviour: easily recognised by its plumage, it is found in medium-sized scattered flocks that forage by stops and starts. When still they stand erect on the alert. Rather wary and skittish. In general they are silent although before taking off and during flight they utter a whistle-like sound.
Unlike most plovers that inhabit water bodies or humid areas, the Tawny-throated Dotterel typically frequents slopes, fields and plateaus of the arid Patagonian steppe and the high mountain plateaus where in summer it encounters habitats similar to that of the steppe.
The nest is a hollow on the ground, where up to four buff- coloured eggs are laid with irregular black spots all over. Its breeding range is the Patagonia and Andean region. In autumn it migrates to the north in large flocks.
Range: distribution includes Patagonia from Neuquén and Río Negro to the north of Tierra del Fuego; occasional visitor on Islas Malvinas; in its migratory dispersal it reaches as far north as Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Córdoba. Also in Chile from the Chilean Tierra del Fuego to Arica and, further north, up to Bolivia, Peru and Southern Ecuador.
Illustrated Handbook of the Birds of Patagonia
Kindless: Kovacs Family

Photographs: Mariano Diez Peña

Birding Patagonia • Birdwatcing in Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina and Chile.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of photographs is forbidden without permission from the authors.
Photographs on the website: Mariano Diez Peña