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Mar Chiquita - Argentina


Mar Chiquita is Argentina's biggest lake, and the world's fifth largest steppe lake. The latter is only true, when the water level is high. In that case, Mar Chiquita covers an area of 5,770 sq. km, in periods of extended drought, the lake surface can drop to 1,960 sq. km. The salt content fluctuates from 25 to 290 g/l depending on the water level. These extreme conditions protected the lake from overpopulation and overuse. Two areas around the lake are under protection, the Reserva Natural de Vaquerias covering 3 sq. km and the Reserva Natural de Fauna Laguna De Felipa covering 13 sq. km.


The most popular nester is the Chilean Flamingo, indiginous to South America, which breeds in 10 areas only. The population declined in the 70s and 80s. In 1998 around 100,000 adults and 50,000 young were counted.


Wilson's phalaropes nest in the North American prairies and spends the winter in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. After the breeding season they cover a long distance non-stop to the North American salt lakes. At the Great Salt Lake up to 600,000 species and at Mono Lake up to 140,000 Wilson's phalaropes were counted. There they moult and double their weight before flying over the Pacific and the Andes mountains. Adult birds cover this distance (5,000 km) in three days by flying 70 km/h. In the 70s, up to 500,000 species of Wilson phalaropes spent the winter at Mar Chiquita.


The main problem for Mar Chiquita is the water withdrawal from the Dulce River for irrigation purposes. It is extremely important to set up a water management system that includes Mar Chiquita and the wetlands as well.


Summer 2009:

Shortage of water at Mar Chiquita. Further information ...


Partner Organisation


Centro de Zoologia Aplicada Argentina

Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

Contact person: Dr. Enrique H. Bucher

Casilla de Correos 122

5000 Córdoba, Argentina

Phone: + 54 - 351 - 433 20 55

Fax: + 54 - 351 - 424 41 191




Mar Chiquita Programme

Wetlands International America

Monroe 2142

1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina


More information about Mar Chiquita


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