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Thinocoridae – Seedsnipes

White-bellied Seedsnipe in Chile: Photo by Pio Marshall

Welcome to our guides on seedsnipe, found in South America, with about four species. This family is interesting due to their resemblance to grouse and their ability to thrive in harsh, cold habitats, feeding on seeds and plant matter.

Overview of Thinocoridae

These shorebirds inhabit the vast, sparsely vegetated landscapes of Patagonia and the high Andes, where their behaviors resemble those of tiny grouse or sandgrouse rather than sandpipers or plovers. Unique within their order, seedsnipes primarily consume seeds and green vegetation. While they possess grouse-like bills, short legs, and thickened toes, they maintain the long wings and agile, fast flight of their shorebird relatives. Their nests and eggs are similar to others in this order, and their chicks emerge as small but capable fuzz-balls. In spring, males establish territories with repeated, booming dove-like calls from elevated spots or through sandpiper-like song flights.