Thinocori’ – Seedsnipes

Widely known for their erratic zig-zag flight pattern

A small and unique group of birds that have adapted to a specialized ecological niche in the high-altitude and open landscapes of South America. This family includes four species, each adapted to life in the Andean and Patagonian regions, where they forage for seeds and other plant materials, a diet that sets them apart from other waders, which typically have a more varied diet including insects and other invertebrates.

Seedsnipes are known for their gregarious nature, often forming flocks that can sometimes number in the hundreds. These flocks provide safety in numbers from predators and efficiency in locating food sources. They inhabit a range of environments, from the grassy plains of Patagonia to the rocky plateaus and alpine meadows of the Andes.

Morphologically, seedsnipes resemble grouse, quail, and sandgrouse. They are compact birds with cryptic plumage that helps them blend into their surroundings. Their wings are long and pointed, enabling fast, powerful flight, which is an essential adaptation for escaping predators and migrating over long distances in search of food.

The Thinocoridae family is divided into two genera: Thinocorus and Attagis. The smaller Thinocorus seedsnipes are sparrow to snipe-sized birds, while the larger Attagis species are comparable in size to a ptarmigan. Despite their size differences, all seedsnipes share the common characteristic of having sturdy legs and feet that enable them to walk and run on the ground, where they spend most of their time.

Their evolutionary relationships with other birds within the order Charadriiformes are not well-defined. It has been suggested that seedsnipes could be closely related to the Plains-wanderer of Australia, as well as to jacanas and painted snipes, though these connections are based on limited evidence and are still debated among ornithologists.