Bird Families

Snipe (bird)


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Snipe - Gallinago gallinago L

A widespread Eurasian sandpiper.

Field The size is about the size of a thrush, the beak is very long (longer than that of all other members of the genus), straight, legs are relatively short. When a person approaches, it hides, takes off unexpectedly at the last moment, emitting a kind of quacking. Flies, waddling from side to side. The way of life is twilight, silent.

Vote. The frightened snipe most often publishes a savory "gull" or "gum" during takeoff. During a current flight, the male flies in circles rather high in the air and from time to time, with a loose and wide-spread tail, rushes down a steep line, at this time a strong, trembling, bleating sound is heard, which can be conveyed by the words "bge-e-g-e -e "or" dudududu ". Having flown, thus, 10-20 m, the snipe with quick flaps of the wings regains the lost height and again repeats the same “fall” technique, and so on many times. At the same time, the bird makes wide spiral circles in the air. The sound is caused by the joint action of the outstretched helmsmen and wings; when falling, the snipe noticeably turns to one side. In addition, during the mating season, the male regularly leaks, sitting on the ground, on a high stump or on the top of a tree, uttering an annoying “tek-tek-tek” in his voice. "Or" flow-flow-flow. ". During a current flight, the male flies in circles rather high in the air and from time to time, with a loose and wide-spread tail, rushes down a steep line, at this time a strong, trembling, bleating sound is heard, which can be conveyed by the words "bge-e-g-e -e "or" dudududu ". Having flown, thus, 10-20 m, the snipe with quick flaps of the wings regains the lost height and again repeats the same “fall” technique, and so on many times. At the same time, the bird makes wide spiral circles in the air. The sound is caused by the joint action of the outstretched helmsmen and wings; when falling, the snipe noticeably turns to one side.

Construction and dimensions. The beak is very long, straight, arranged like a woodcock. The legs are relatively short, four-toed, the lower part of the tibia is not feathered, the toes are long. There are 6 - 9 steering pairs, most often 7.

The body length of males (18) 248-310, females (6) 274-300, on average 286 and 289.8 mm. The span of males (18) 430-480, females (6) 435-476, on average 466 and 447 mm. The wing length of males (90) 125-135 g of females (37) 124-132, on average 130 and 129.3 mm. The beak of males (20) 62-72.5, females (20) 63-76, on average 67 and 68.8 mm. The tarsus of males (20) 33.5-37, females (20) 33-38, on average 34.9 and 35 mm. Male weight 93 g, females (4) 102.5-143.5, average 123.3 g.

S h o d n e v i d s. It differs from the great snipe, which does not nest in Evenkia, by its white abdomen without streaks and red extreme tail feathers, from the Asiatic snipe and wood snipe - by wide outer tail feathers.

Traces Outwardly, they resemble woodcock tracks, but they are 0.5 cm shorter and thinner than them. The size of the print is 4.0 x 4.6 cm, the 1st finger is 1 cm long, the 2nd is 2.7, the 3rd is 4, the 4th is 3.2 cm. imprinted on the entire length and as if fused with the heel. This feature is typical for the tracks of all representatives of the genus of snipe, while in most of the four-toed waders, the hind toe leaves an oval depression at some distance from the heel. Paw prints are often accompanied by beak holes in the soil.

Grown up p t and c a. The top of the head is brownish-black, in the middle of the vertex there is a longitudinal wide stripe of ocher color, along the edges there are two of the same wide superciliary stripes. The upper part is brownish-black with brownish-rusty spots, the back of the back is grayish. The upper tail coverts are rusty-buffy with dark transverse stripes. Flight feathers are brownish-black, secondary feathers have white tips. Middle tail feathers are black with rufous tips, other tail feathers are rufous with brown transverse stripes and lighter tips. The number of tail feathers is from 12 to 18, mainly 14. Neck, craw, breast and lower tail coverts are yellowish-brown with dark longitudinal stripes, throat and chin are creamy, the rest of the underparts are white, sides with dark transverse stripes. Axillary white with black transverse stripes. The upper beak is light brown with black, the lower beak is fleshy with a dark end. Legs are gray with a greenish tinge.

M o l d and I p t and c a. Darker on top, underside with larger black stripes.

P o w o y p t e c. Rusty brown ("fox" color), with black markings on top and with whitish tips of fluff. On the forehead above the beak there is a brownish-black spot, separated from the vertex by a grayish-white color. The ventral side of the body is light, there is a dark spot on the goiter.

Spread. From the western state border to the east to the eastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, Kamchatka, the coasts of the Bering Sea and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. To the north in the European part to the Arctic coast, on Yamal to the 68th parallel, on the Gydan Peninsula to the 71st parallel, on the Taimyr Peninsula to the 74th parallel, in the Lena basin to the 71st parallel, to the Yana delta, to the Indigirka delta , to the Kolyma delta, the northern part of the Chukotka Peninsula. To the south in the Volga valley up to the 49th parallel, in the Ural basin to the lower reaches of the Ilek, further to the east to the state border of Russia, southern Cisbaikalia, southern Transbaikalia, and the southern part of the Ussuri basin. Islands: Vaygach, Komandorskie, Sakhalin.

Outside the countries of the former USSR: Western Europe, Himalayas, northern Mongolia, North America.

In the southern part of Evenkia, as well as throughout the country, the subspecies nests Gallinago gallinago gallinago.

BASIC PLACES Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Hindustan, northern half of Africa.

H a r a c t e r of a request. Nesting migratory species.

B and about t about p. Swampy areas, with or without shrub vegetation.

Displacement. They begin to breed in the second or third calendar year. They form a permanent pair for the entire nesting season and, although the female incubates without the help of the male, both parents equally take care of the hatched chicks. The nest usually fits on a hummock. It is a small depression in the soil, lined with dry stalks of grasses, the thickness of the litter reaches 2 cm.In a clutch, there are usually 4, occasionally 5 pear-shaped eggs, colored olive, yellowish-olive or olive-brown with rather large dark brown surface and dull gray deep spots. Egg sizes (100): 35-42.7 x 26.3-31, average 39.6 x 28.8 mm. The female incubates densely, flies out almost from under her feet and quickly flies away or falls into the grass somewhere at some distance, most often does not take away from the nest, does not show concern. Incubation lasts 19-21 days. The chicks are led by both the male and the female, dividing the brood. Young ones begin to fly at three weeks of age.

L and n k and. Full postnuptial molt occurs before departure. Birds huddle in remote places (in the "support") and gradually change all plumage. Molting begins in June - July. Post-nesting (partial) molting begins in January and ends, in general, before arriving at nesting sites. Juveniles molt (partial molt) from August to mid-September.

Food. Worms, slugs, beetles and their larvae, dipterans, seeds of some plants, etc.

Description of snipe

The lower body, chin and throat are dark white. The chest is slightly brownish brown with darker veins. The belly is white, the sides are brown.

Feathers on the ears and cheeks, the eyes are dark brown, as is the crown, which is decorated with faded stripes. Dark yellow eyebrows. Long flexible blackish beak with a yellowish base. The feet are yellow or grayish green.

Both sexes are similar. Juniors differ from adults only in neatly bordered pale yellow wing feathers. Subspecies of the main snipe, Gallinago gallinago, exhibit some variation in color and plumage patterns.

What places does the snipe choose to live in?

Birds live and build nests:

  • near open fresh or brackish water areas with vegetation,
  • on grassy or marshy edges of lakes and streams,
  • in wet meadows,
  • on the swampy tundra.

This species needs grass cover and moist soils. Outside of the mating season, the snipe inhabits similar habitats, but also flies into rice fields, treatment facilities, estuaries and coastal meadows.

Range of snipe

Birds are widespread:

  • in Iceland,
  • in the Faroe Islands,
  • in the North of Europe,
  • Russia.

Seasonal bird migration

The species overwinters in southern Europe and Africa, Asian subspecies migrate to tropical southern Asia. Some populations are settled or migrate within the range. Relatives from the Northern latitudes arrive in Central Europe, join the aboriginal snipe, feed on flooded meadows, where there is vegetation for shelter and rich sources of food.

How snipe breeds

Snipe whirls high in the air, makes quick flaps of its wings. Then it falls like a stone, producing a typical female drumming sound. The male also sits on the poles, publishes a mating song.

The species is monogamous and nests on the ground. Parents place the nest in a dry place among vegetation, cover it with grass or sedge. The female lays 4 brown-spotted olive eggs in April-June. The incubation ends in about 17-20 days, the mother incubates.

Both adults feed and take care of the offspring, put insects in the open beaks of the chicks. Young animals fledge 19-20 days after birth. Since eggs are on the ground, they are often eaten by predators or trampled by grazing livestock. If the clutch is unsuccessful or dies, the parents lay eggs again.

Snipe nest with eggs

What do snipe eats in nature

Snipe hunts insects, also eats:

  • larvae,
  • earthworms,
  • small crustaceans,
  • snails,
  • spiders.

Birds need a small amount of seeds and plant fibers for a complete diet. The species usually gathers food close to water or in shallow water.

The species feeds in small flocks, often at sunrise and sunset. In search of food, snipes explore the soil with long sensitive beaks.

Snipe survival tactics in nature

The bird never flies far from the shelter. If disturbed, the snipe crouches, then makes strong flaps of its wings, rises high in the air, flies long distances, lands and hides in cover. During these actions, the bird makes harsh sounds. The camouflage plumage makes the snipe difficult targets for predators and objects of study for bird watchers.

Appearance and features

Japanese snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) - a rare species of snipe inhabiting the south of the Far Eastern region of the Russian Federation.

In appearance, the Japanese snipe is similar to the common snipe and to the wood snipe, which is why many hunters accidentally shoot it. It differs from other types of snipe, allowed for shooting, in its somewhat large size, almost as large as a pigeon (body length 20-30 cm). The color of the Japanese snipe is lighter than that of the great snipe. The width of the extreme tail feathers reaches 5-6 mm, the plumage of the back is painted in blackish tones, there are noticeable blurred streaks on the abdomen. The plumage of the lower part of the wing is gray, there are no white stripes above. This species is characterized by a long, thin, straight beak, rather high legs and relatively long wings. During takeoff, as a rule, it emits a sharp cry "Chuck!" Leads a secretive lifestyle, avoids a person. Nests in bamboo thickets. When a snipe is found, it first tries to leave "on foot" and only then flies away.


Migratory bird: winters in Australia, Tasmania, countries of Southeast Asia.

On the territory of the RSFSR, the northern nesting area of ​​snipe appeared relatively recently, in the 40-50s. XX century. In summer, the first pairs of Japanese snipe were first recorded on the Kunashir and Iturup Islands, on the Shikotan and Zeleny Islands (Habomai). The rapid growth in the densely populated population of China, Korea and Japan apparently pushed the view towards the development of more northern territories. On Sakhalin, sowing. the border of the range of the Japanese snipe runs on the western coast along the valley of the river. Uglegorka and the outskirts of Shakhtersk, to the east. the coast the birds advanced up to the hall. Patience near the city of Poronaysk. They inhabit the territories located no further than 20-30 km away from the sea coasts. With a greater degree of probability, it can be argued that the species has been nesting on about. Moneron. Active colonization by Japanese snipe of the continental coast of Primorsky Krai, as well as the islands of the Peter the Great Bay, began in 1964, when on about. Big Pelis to the hall. Peter the Great, a nesting pair was recorded for the first time.


The mating of males is rather peculiar. Sexual maturity of Japanese snipe occurs at the age of 2 years. The clutch usually contains 4 eggs. The basis of the diet of the species includes soil and terrestrial insects, earthworms, a small amount of grass seeds and plant shoots.

Conservation status

The main enemies of the Japanese snipe are the fox and the raccoon dog, the nests are ravaged by crows, and humans also hunt them.

It is protected as a rare species on the territory of Russia. Listed in the Red Data Books of Russia, the USSR, IUCN-96 Red List, Appendix 2 of the Bonn Convention, Appendices of bilateral agreements concluded by Russia with Japan and the Republic of Korea on the protection of migratory birds, and other Asian countries. Thanks to these protective measures, ornithologists noted a slight increase in the number of the species in the 80-90s of the XX century, especially in the south of Sakhalin, where the species became quite common. The total number of the species on this flyway is estimated to be about 36 thousand individuals.