Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

WHSRNews Update

Bahía Blanca Estuary: New WHSRN Site in Argentina!


Bahía Blanca Estuary, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina/ © Pablo Petracci

Based on having met WHSRN’s biological and landowner commitment criteria, the Bahía Blanca Estuary (Estuario de la Bahía Blanca) in Argentina was unanimously approved as a WHSRN Site of Regional Importance recently by the WHSRN Hemispheric Council.

Located in the southwest portion of Buenos Aires Province, the new WHSRN site encompasses the entire ecosystem of the Bahía Blanca Estuary, spanning three municipalities: Coronel Rosales, Bahía Blanca, and Villarino. It includes national, provincial, and municipal jurisdictions as well as private properties.

The boundaries comprise six subsites, all in Buenos Aires Province, totaling 262,527 hectares:

  • Bahía Blanca, Bahía Falsa, y Bahía Verde Provincial Nature Reserve (Provincial Organization for Sustainable Development; OPDS in Spanish)
  • Islote de la Gaviota Cangrejera Provincial Nature Reserve (OPDS)
  • Bahía Blanca Municipal Coastal Nature Reserve (Secretary of the Environment, Municipality of Bahía Blanca)
  • Arroyo Pareja-Isla Cantarelli Natural Area (Port Delegation, Municipality of Coronel Rosales)
  • Cuatreros Coastal Wetland Reserve (General Daniel Cerri Fishing and Navigation Club)
  • Villa del Mar Wetlands (Tourism Department, Municipality of Coronel Rosales)

Bahía Blanca Estuary supports more than 20,000 shorebirds each year. / © Pablo Petracci

The site was proposed under the category of "regional importance" for supporting more than 20,000 shorebirds per year, including more than 1% of the biogeographic population of Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa), White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), Two-banded Plover (Charadrius falklandicus), and American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus durnfordi).

The Bahía Blanca Estuary ecosystem, known locally as “Ría de Bahía Blanca,” is one of the most extensive systems of natural marshlands in South America (2,300 km2). This coastal wetland has unique geographical and biological characteristics, and is considered one of the most important of its kind in Argentina.

According to biologist Pablo Petracci, who coordinated and led the WHSRN nomination process on behalf of all the partners, “This nomination helps to put Bahía Blanca Estuary on the international list of priority sites for migratory shorebird conservation in the Hemisphere, and, as such, helps to redouble the efforts needed for the area’s protection locally.” Petracci is Research Specialist for Gekko-Conservation and Management Studies Group in the Department of Biology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacy at the National University of the South, in Buenos Aires.

Bahía Blanca Estuary / Courtesy of bahiablanca.gov.ar.


Bahía Blanca Estuary is the 8th WHSRN site in Argentina, making it the country with the most such sites in South America. There are now a total of 93 WHSRN sites in 14 countries, where hundreds of partners are conserving and managing more than 32 million acres of vital habitat for shorebirds.

On behalf of the Network, the WHSRN Executive Office gives a warm welcome to our new conservation partners at Bahía Blanca Estuary, Argentina!

For more information, please contact Diego Luna Quevedo (diego.luna@manomet.org), Conservation Specialist, WHSRN Executive Office, Santiago, Chile; or, Pablo Petracci (pablopetracci@yahoo.com.ar), Research Specialist, National University of the South, Buenos Aires, Argentina.