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Laguna de Rocha

Site Facts

Country, State, Province/Region:

Uruguay, Department of Rocha

Relative Location:

6 km SW of the city of La Paloma


34º37`19``S, 54º17`14``W



Basis for Designation:

More than 1% of the flyway population for Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis).


16,500 hectares (40,772 acres)


March 20

Site Owner/Steward:

General Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources: Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries plus four private land owners

Site Partners:


Human Population within 100 km:

30,000 summer population


Dr. Jorge Cravino

Director, Department of Wildlife
General Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources



 About Us

The 16,500-hectare (40,770-acre) Laguna de Rocha forms part of the “Jose Ignacio, Garzón, and Rocha Lagoons National Park” and the “Bañados del Este Biosphere Reserve.” It was recently incorporated into Uruguay’s National Protected Area System as a "Protected Landscape."  

Located on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay, the Laguna is an important wintering site for 24 species of shorebirds, including many at-risk species. In particular, it supports 6.6% of the world’s Buff-breasted Sandpipers (Tryngites subruficollis). As a result, the lagoon has been designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of Regional Importance—the first WHSRN site in Uruguay!

Ecology & Conservation

 Content pending....

Special Information

Laguna de Rocha Official Dedication

Two activities took place in March 2010 to formalize and celebrate the designation of Laguna de Rocha as a WHSRN Site: one in the Municipality of Rocha and another in the city of Montevideo. Charles Duncan, Director of the WHSRN Executive Office, and Diego Luna Quevedo, Southern Cone Program Coordinator for Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, had the honor of participating in both.

On 13 March, more than 80 people gathered at the Cultural Center in La Paloma (Municipality of Rocha) to learn about the fundamentals and significance of the WHSRN designation and discuss the factors that challenge the effective conservation of the area. Participants included national and local authorities, nongovernmental organizations, local ranchers and fishermen, various experts, researchers, local leaders, and neighbors. At the end of the day, site partners received official WHSRN certificates for Laguna de Rocha’s designation and made a site visit, where a flock of over 200 Buff-breasted Sandpipers dazzled the group with their acrobatic flights.  On 15 March, a second event at the Convention Center in Montevideo brought together diverse organizations and partners in conservation. Mr. Alain Latulippe, the Canadian Ambassador to Uruguay, was among many special guests. Canada and Uruguay actually share many migratory shorebird species, including the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Site dedication activities were organized by an alliance of local and national partners including Aves Uruguay (who had led the site nomination process), Protected Areas System of Uruguay (SNAP), National Directorate of Environment (DINAMA), Municipality of Rocha, the Rocha Coastal Lagoons Friends’ Foundation, PROBIDES, and the General Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources (RENARE-Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).


Dr. Jorge Cravino

Director, Department of Wildlife
General Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources
Cerrito 318
Montevideo, Montevideo
Uruguay 11.000
(598) 2 9156452/53

Additional Resources


Chorlos y playeros migratorios de la Laguna de Rocha: manual para su identificación y conservación.
[Migratory plovers and sandpipers of Laguna de la Rocha: an identification and conservation manual.]

This 90-page book, published in 2012 by Aves Uruguay and partners, is authored by shorebird experts Pablo Rocca and Joaquín Aldabe. It is a field guide for identifying the many species of migratory shorebirds found at Laguna de Rocha, as well as an educational tool for raising awareness about the need to conserve these species and their habitats.

The publication is available online from the Aves Uruguay website (link goes directly to the .pdf).