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Magellanic Plover Pluvianellus socialis

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The Magellanic Plover is no plover; in fact it is the sole member of the family Pluvianellidae. It is a small shorebird with a short and peg-like bill, dove-gray plumage, and curious behavior. It often stomps on wet mud to liquefy it, and then moves in quick circles and pecks at food that is brought to the surface from this behavior. When the young are fed, they secrete a crop milk not unlike that of doves. The odd look of this bird, the bill shape and the behavior have caused it to be classified as part of various groups through time. It was at one point thought to be a sandpiper due to the turnstone-like bill and patterns of the downy young. At other periods it was suggested to be an odd dove due to the crop milk, and soft “dove like” look. Molecular data clarifies that it is indeed a shorebird, but that it does belong in its own family and that its closest relative may be the Sheathbills (Chionidae). The Magellanic Plover breeds only in southernmost Patagonia, in both Chile and Argentina.

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© Andrew Spencer

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Recommended Citation

Magellanic Plover (Pluvianellus socialis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/magplo1