THE STATUS OF THE HOODED GREBE (PODICEPS GALLARDOI) IN CHILE
Keywords:Breeding, Chile, conservation, distribution, Hooded Grebe, Podiceps gallardoi
The status of the Hooded Grebe in Chile has been uncertain since it was first mentioned for the country 25 years ago. Since the first observation, a new set of records has been published elsewhere, but none of them has comprehensively assessed the status of the species in Chile. These publications hypothesize that the species is either a breeding resident, an occasional visitor, or simply a vagrant in southern Chile. In the present article, I collate and discuss all published (and some unpublished) observations of this critically endangered species in Chile, focusing on the temporal distribution of observations and on habitat characteristics. The distribution of records suggests the existence of two different regions where the Hooded Grebe is observed in Chile. The southern area, at both sides of the Strait of Magellan, includes mainly records of putative vagrants during annual movements, while in the northern area, within Torres del Paine National Park and Puerto Natales, the species seems to be a regular summer resident. So far there are no confirmed breeding records for Chile. Although the present information suggests that the Chilean population is very small and not of great importance for the conservation of species, the northern population could represent the last individuals of the presumably extinct Las Vizcachas Plateau’s population of Argentina.