© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, Teemu Vedenoja, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Gallinago gallinago

  • Name also: Common Snipe
  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A smallish wader with patterned plumage. Bill about twice as long as head. Indistinct yellowish lengthwise stripes on back, belly white. Narrow white markings on edges of tail.
  • Size: Length 23–28 cm, wingspan 39–45 cm, weight 78–105 g.
  • Nest: Well concealed in wet sedge beds, made of straw.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid from the end of April onwards, incubated by female for 18–22 days. Fledglings leave the nest soon after hatching and quickly learn to find food. They learn to fly within 14–19 days.
  • Occurrence: Breeds in wetlands and along coasts throughout Finland, but not found on open sphagnum bogs or pine mires. Finnish breeding population estimated at 90,000–180,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Leaves Finland September–November, returning April–May. Winters in Western and Southern Europe.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Courtship calls include a long, mechanical series of “chik-kot” calls. Particularly around dawn and dusk males in courtship flight may make a strange “drumming sound”, caused by the wind blowing through their outer tail feathers when they dive steeply.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

Snipes are thrush-sized waders with brown, black and white patterning, and an extremely long bill. Their heads and backs are marked with wide pale lengthwise streaks. They are more slender than the otherwise similar Great Snipe, and their bellies are white. Great Snipes have dark stripes across their bellies, and also more extensive white markings on the edges of their tails. Additionally, Snipes take flight more readily, rising high into the sky, and flying away from any disturbance rapidly with a zigzagging flight pattern. Snipes have greenish grey legs, reddish brown beaks with dark tips, and brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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