Wilson's Snipe

Gallinago delicata




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive to brown with brown splotches and spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

18 - 20

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses.





Wilson's Snipe: Small to medium-sized sandpiper with brown and black mottled upperparts and distinct buff stripes on back. Underparts are white with dark bars on sides and flanks. Head, neck and breast are heavily streaked. Wings are dark brown with nearly black primaries. Bill is very long and straight; short legs. Tail is black with broad, red-brown central bar and white tip. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is very similar to adult, but their wing coverts are fringed with pale buff. There is no seasonal variation.

Range and Habitat

Wilson's Snipe: Breeds in northern U.S. and Canada from subarctic Alaska east to Quebec and south to Oregon east to New England. Spends winters from California east to the Mid-Atlantic states south as far as northern South America and also in the West Indies. Prefers freshwater marshes and swamps, frequents open landscapes.

Breeding and Nesting

Wilson's Snipe: Four olive to brown eggs with brown splotches and spots are laid in a ground scrape lined with grass. Incubation ranges from 18 to 20 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Wilson's Snipe: Their diet includes mostly larval insects, but they also take crustaceans, earthworms and mollusks. They probe in the soil with their long bill and frequently immerse the entire beak and forehead up to the eyes in water. They swallow small prey without withdrawing the bill from the soil. They feed both on land and in shallow water, but usually in or near cover.


Wilson's Snipe: On breeding grounds gives "wheat-wheat-wheat-wheat" sound.

Similar Species

Wilson's Snipe: American Woodcock is chunkier, has bars on crown instead of longitudinal stripes, lacks bars on flanks, and has richer brown underparts, including wing linings.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Wing covertsX
The feathers that cover and protect the flight feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X