The government of Argentina has designated its 21st Wetland of International Importance, called the Humedales de Península Valdés (42,695 hectares, 42°30’00”S 064°20’00”W), comprising two coastal sub-sites along the gulfs on either side of the Valdés peninsula in Patagonia, within the much larger Península Valdés World Heritage property that was inscribed in the UNESCO list in 1999. As described by Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Ms Nury Furlan, the site is an important source of food for diverse resident and migratory marine birds; it is, for example, a regular stopover for Calidris canutus rufa, a critically endangered subspecies.
The wetlands support more than 20,000 birds, taking into account populations of Calidris canutus, C. alba, C. bairdii, C. fuscicollis, Haematopus palliatus and Charadrius falklandicus, and other aquatic birds such as Larus dominicanus, Larus maculipennis, Sterna hirundinacea, S. eurygnatha, S. maxima Phoenicopterus chilensis and Lophonetta specularioides. According to the census between 1994 and 2010, the site supports more than 1% of the populations of Calidris Canutus and Haematopus palliates, and more than 10% of Charadrius falklandicus. It is also important for its archeological and paleontological values.
Photos by Luis Bala.