© Copyright: Images: M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Jack Snipe

Lymnocryptes minimus

  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A small, fairly short-billed wader (bill only slightly longer than head). Cap dark, long and distinctive yellowish lengthwise stripes visible on back.
  • Size: Length 18–20 cm, wingspan 33–36 cm, weight 50–85 g.
  • Nest: In a depression in marshy sedge beds, lined with sedge stems and leaves.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May–June, incubated by female for 24 days. Fledglings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to find food.
  • Occurrence: Breeds in marshy bogs in parts of Northern Finland, most southerly nesting areas are in Kainuu, Suomenselkä and Central Ostrobothnia. Finnish breeding population estimated at 4,000–8,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Leaves Finland September–November, returning April–May after wintering in Western Europe or around the Mediterranean. Some birds winter in Finland occasionally. Birds resting on migration trust their excellent camouflage and only take flight practically from under the feet of an intruder.
  • Diet: Invertebrates and some plant material.
  • Calls: In flight a hissing “zet”. Mating call said to resemble horses’ hooves on a wooden bridge.

Jack Snipes are similar in colouring to other snipes, but they are noticeably smaller and their bills are shorter. The markings on their heads are very distinct, including a broad white eyebrow stripe, a dark half-moon-shaped patch beneath each eye, a dark stripe between their eyes and bill and a dark cap. The lengthwise yellowish stripes along their backs are also distinctive. Other parts of their back and mantle have a greenish metallic sheen. Their tails are short, have no white colouring, and end in a wedge shape. Their legs may be yellowish green or dark grey. They have yellowish bills with black tips, and dark brown irises.

Other species from the same family

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