• Chilean Flamingos by Jose Cardenas Vejar

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • photo: Claudio Delgado

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Hudsonian Godwits by Jose Cardenas Vejar

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Hudsonian Godwit by Fabian Pinasco

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Hudsonian Godwits © Conservación Marina

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Hudsonian Godwits by Scott Hecker

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Many-colored Rush-Tyrant by Fabian Pinasco

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

  • Counting godwits by Scott Hecker

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

In Brief

Conservation Value:

This project is expanded in scope where the intital three sites in the new Maullin wetlands reserve network support more than 1 percent of the biogeographic population of the Hudsonian Godwit. The reserves are also important to Whimbrel, Sanderling, Yellowlegs, and other migratory shorebird species.  Over 100 species of migratory and resident species of shorebirds and waterbirds have been recorded there.  The area has been greatly increased in size with the establishment of a Natural Sanctuary for most of the Maullin watershed from the mountains to the sea.


Maullín has several significant coastal wetlands that were formally protected. The municipality was open to designating three coastal wetlands as bird reserves, but lacked capacity to do the needed groundwork and management plan. Enter ICFC partner Conservación Marina, who saw an opportunity to develop bird-oriented tourism and protect the sites for thousands of coastal birds.  Threats include unregulated recreational activities, uncontrolled sheep and cattle, and roaming or feral dogs.  Other potentical threats include coastal development projects, such as the siting of wind turbines.

Actions & Results:

ICFC’s project in Chile benefits one of the world’s “long haul” migrants—the Hudsonian godwit, which is capable of single flights of 10,000 km.
The project with Fundación Conservación Marina began in 2015 with the establishment of five small, protected wetlands (918 ha) at the mouth of theMaullín River. It has since expanded down the coast to Chiloé and upriver to its mountain origins for a total area of nearly 10,000 ha. The project is now year-round program that works with a growing number of local communities, including the local Mapuche Indigenous people, and all levels of government. Key to the success here has been the strong focus on birding tourism, which has resulted in mapped birding trails, public bird-watching blinds, books and posters, and a daily presence.  A Reserve Network is now protected by Conservacion Marina, the city of Maullin, and the federal government of Chile.  This has been done with broad local support from communities, government and the indigenous people in the region.  A management plan was developed through a participatory process and lays out a five-year action plan. Ecotourism capacity has been developed to help attract Chilean and foreign tourists. Local ecotourism providers received training and the project developed a bird guide, a birding trail, public bird observation blinds, and interpretive panels and posters. Tourism provides financial benefits to local communities, which helps to ensure the long-term protection of coastal ecosystems. Another achievement is the designation of the Maullin wetlands as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of Regional Importance.


Maullín, Los Lagos Region, southern Chile


Improve the population status of at-risk migratory shorebirds and resident waterbirds by increasing protection of important shorebird sites.

Project Field Partner:

Fundación Conservación Marina


Cumulative cost to ICFC (2015-2022): CA$556,136

2023 budget (ICFC portion):  US$99,710

Size of Area Involved:

The original reserve network of 918 hectares has been enlarged to 8,000 ha with a federal-level of protection as a Natural Sanctuary.

Support this project


Click to enlarge an image

Lesser Yellowlegs (by Fabian Pinasco)
White-backed stilt (photo: Fabian Pinasco)
Black skimmer (by Fabian Pinasco)
Public blind at AmorTajado
Humedal laguna quenuir (photo: Scott Hecker)
Artsy use of bottle caps (photo: Scott Hecker)
Maullin habitat (photo: Conservacion Marina)
Fisherman  shorebirds

In More Depth...

Project Partners and Personnel

Our partner is the Chilean conservation organization Conservación Marina with project leader Claudio Delgado. This project received matching funds from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 2015-2016.


The Maullín wetlands represent one of the largest coastal wetlands in continental Chile and are recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for their importance as a feeding and resting area for Nearctic shorebird species of concern, notably Hudsonian Godwit, and for other waterbirds. This project aims to stem the loss and degradation of habitat from unregulated recreational activities (and from the lesser problem of livestock trampling) through the creation of a municipal nature reserve system. The project is assisting the local community to develop birding tourism, which will enhance local support for and appreciation of the reserve network.


Map of Maullin Coastal Wetlands Reserve Network

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