Coastal MPA
Aves Migratorias
Provincial Reserve

Cover Photo © Emanuel Tiberi


The reserve is located in the estuary of the Gallegos River – Chico River. It has ecological characteristics that favor the settlement of wildlife. The soft, sandy and/or muddy intertidal flats are exposed during low tides and are areas of high biological productivity that provide food for various bird species, especially migratory shorebirds. These environments and the marshes on the upper level of the plains also provide resting areas during their seasonal movements. These wetlands provide optimal conditions for feeding and resting, crucial activities for the survival of migratory birds that must replenish the energy consumed in their extensive and exhausting journeys. Many come from the Northern Hemisphere (Nearctic species), such as the ruddy sandpiper, the sea coot and the white-rumped sandpiper, and join both hemispheres in their seasonal flights, spending the summer in the estuary. Others are exclusive to South America (Neotropical species), including Patagonian species such as the southern oystercatcher and the double-collared plover. It is estimated that the estuary hosts together, between Nearctic and Patagonian shorebirds, more than 20,000 birds per year.

Geographic Location


Santa Cruz


-51.65° Latitude S

-69.08° Longitude W

Size and Limits

Total Area:


Marine Area:


Continental Area:


Estimated area based on the calculation of the area of the polygon represented on the map (ArcGIS PRO) with an Albers Equivalent Conic projection to preserve area calculations.

Legal Aspects



Year of Creation


Creation Legislation

Law N 002583

IUCN Management Category

Marine Area

Not applicable

Continental Area

IV: Habitat/Species Management Area

International recognition

Site of International Importance according to the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), 2005.
IBA site according to Birdlife International, 2005.

Eco-regions represented



Pampa Ecoregion

Conservation Objectives

Located within the Río Gallegos – Chico estuary. This estuary is one of the sectors that still maintains little altered conditions and includes a representative sample of intertidal plains and marshlands with characteristics that favor the settlement of wildlife. The large tidal amplitude results in large sectors of sand and mud flats during low tides. This special feature is exploited by a great diversity and number of birds, especially waders, many of them from the Northern Hemisphere (Nearctic species). Others are exclusive to South America (Neotropical species), among which are the Patagonian species.

Colonies and stopover sites

The following table presents the colonies or stopover sites of some emblematic species of birds and marine mammals present within the MPA boundaries.


Management effectiveness and evaluation year


Management effectiveness and evaluation year

45 % – METT Evaluation (2014)

Sources of information consulted: Management Plan (2017).
Bird colonies: See Bibliography