Camouflage: The magical disappearing act of the least seedsnipe!

Key words: Camouflage, Pampas, Chile, Argentina, Least Seedsnipe

Yesterday we were running through a very flat landscape of yellows, browns and dark greens. Tussocky spiky grasses and low thorny scrub stretched into the horizon with pebbles and boulders for miles.

This is the Pampas- the grassland and shrubland of southern Chile and Argentina. A wild place at the bottom of the earth where the wind blows at hurricane force and snow and ice lingers for months.

You wouldn’t think that very much could live here would you- in this very cold, howling and dry place? But things do! You just have to find them! Because many of the Pampas animals have feathers, scales or hair exactly the right colours that allow them to merge into the landscape, as if they were never there at all!

As we were running, a group of little birds, slightly bigger than a sparrow, flitted from the track into the vegetation (plants) and scuttled across the ground. If you looked away for one second, they were lost forever. Were they magic birds?

Well, what they were, were “least seedsnipes”. What is magical about these little birds, who seem a little dove like, is that they have the most amazing golden speckled plumage (feathers). You can see them when they move, but when they stop and sit in the sand, pebbles and grasses, they are lost forever!

So, although the least seedsnipe may be sitting only a few footsteps from you, he will sit extremely still and you will probably pass by and never know he was there! His feathers are camouflaged, so that just as we find it very hard to see him, so will a bird of a prey, such as a hawk, or mammal, such as a fox, which would very much like to eat him!

Many of the other animals of the Pampas use camouflage to help them survive; to stop them being on the menu of another animals or to help them hunt and have another animal on their menu!


  • Can you find out what other animal species (types of wild animals that can mate) live in the Pampas and use camouflage to help them to survive in the harsh landscape?

  • What animals (types of insects, amphibians, mammals, birds etc.) use camouflage where you live and why?

  • Can you think of how people have copied animals and use camouflage?

FUTURE 5000mileproject FUN! We will be meeting more of the inhabitants of the Pampas habitat in the coming weeks!

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