Gallinago gallinago
(Common Snipe)

Order: Charadriiformes
Order Description: Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns
Family: Scolopacidae
Family Description: Sandpipers and Phalaropes

Physical Description:
10 1/2-11 1/2" (26-29 cm). Black-brown, with buff-white stripes and red-brown dots and lines on the back and head. buffClick word for definition to white neck and breast streaked with brown; sides, flanksClick word for definition, and undertail coverts barred with brown. Short, orange tail is rounded. Extremely long, straight bill and short legs.

Similar Species- Dowitchers, American Woodcock

Call a scratchy zhak when flushed. Song, a measured chip-a, chip-a, chip-a, etc. In high aerial display, tail produces an eerie, pulsing huhuhuhuhuhuhuhu.

Breeds from northern Alaska, east through parts of Canada to Maritime Provinces, and south to southern Alaska, central California, eastern Arizona, New Mexico (probably), Colorado, and parts of Midwest, mid-Atlantic states, and New England. Winters from southern Alaska (rarely), southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Utah, central U.S., and Virginia, south to South America.

Found in wet, grassy, or marshy areas, from tundraClick word for definition to temperate lowlands and hilly regions. In winter and during migrationClick word for definition, also found in wet meadows, flooded fields, bogs, swamps, moorlands, and marshy banks of rivers and lakes.

Eats mostly insects (especially burrowing larvae), mollusks, crustaceans, and worms; sometimes eats seeds of sedges and grasses.

Nests in depression on ground, under concealing vegetation. When not breeding, forages singly or in loose groups. Feeds by probing into mud or soft soil, or taking some food on surface. Largely crepuscularClick word for definition in feeding, NocturnalClick word for definition in migration. Usually roosts in flocks.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 4 eggs (usually) for 17-20 days. Young leave nest soon after hatching, are tended by both parents in 2 separate groups, and are capable of sustained flight at about 20 days.

Element Code: ABNNF18010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Photo by C. S. Robbins. ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.