Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes and Allies (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

COSN

Code 6

GALGAN

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Snipe may also be called the “Fantail Snipe”, and is a stocky shorebird. Its breeding grounds are located in Iceland, the Faroes, northern Europe and Russia. Preferred habitats are marshes, bogs, tundras and wet meadows. Nests of the Common Snipe are hidden on the ground under low vegetation. Populations in Europe migrate in winter months to southern Europe and Africa. Asian populations fly further south in the winter to tropical climates. These birds forage in the mud for food, and typically eat insects and earthworms. Due to maintained and increasing populations, the Common Snipe’s conservation rating is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Snipe: Longest-billed of all snipes, best identified by broad white stripe at base of underwing. Upperparts cryptically colored with brown and yellow-brown streaks of many different shades. Underparts white but strongly suffused with orange wash, heavily barred and streaked with dark brown.


Range and Habitat

Common Snipe: Breeds extensively across northern Europe and Asia, and then winters in parts of Europe, North Africa, and across southern Asia. May nearly always be found in marshes, wetlands, flooded fields, and moist grasslands. Individuals regularly appear on Aleutian Islands of Alaska during its migration.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"scaap"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The male Common Snipe performs "winnowing" displays during courtship, circling high then diving, producing a distinctive sound as the air flows over specially modified tail feathers.
  • Their clutch size is almost always four eggs. When the first two chicks hatch, the male takes them from the nest and cares for them. The last two chicks to hatch are cared for by the female. The two groups do not interact after they part.
  • This behavior has given rise to the Finnish name, "Taivaanvuohi", or "sky goat", because the sound is similar to the sound a goat makes.
  • A group of snipes has many collective nouns, including a "leash", "walk", "whisper", "winnowing", and "volley" of snipes.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Snipe

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

David Wenzel

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X