A large proportion of the Hudsonian Godwits (Limosa haemastica) spending the boreal winter along the eastern Pacific Ocean coast are known to occur in the vicinity of Chiloé Island, Chile, but the importance of the region to Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) is less known. Ground counts conducted in 2007 and 2008 increased published estimates, at a minimum, of Pacific coast populations by 27% for Whimbrels (33,150 individuals) and 51% for Hudsonian Godwits (21,161 individuals). Bays and shorelines in the Chiloé Island region supported 99% of Hudsonian Godwits and, perhaps, 61% of Whimbrels estimated to occur along the Pacific coast during the boreal winter. Whereas Hudsonian Godwits aggregated in shallow bays on the eastern and northern coast of Chiloé Island, Whimbrels were more dispersed along the island's coastline and reached a density of 7.5 birds/km along sheltered gravel shorelines. Bays in the vicinity of Chiloé's capital, Castro, provided important foraging and roosting habitat for non-breeding birds; these sites supported 52% of the Pacific coast population of Hudsonian Godwits and >4,000 Whimbrels. Low human disturbance in Pullao and Putemún bays makes these sites particularly attractive to nonbreeding Hudsonian Godwits, and their permanent protection is urged.
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Vol. 32 • No. 2