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Common Snipe - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Gallinago gallinago)
Photo © by IanF
Dormans Pool, Billingham, UK, 4 September 2003
Gallinago gallinago


  • Brown back with creamy stripes
  • Striped head with cream central stripe
  • White belly
  • Barred flanks
  • Long bill

Similar Species

Ssp. gallinago
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon, Haryana, India, 19 March 2015

Wilson's Snipe3 of North America differs in its courtship display flight, and the winnowing sounds made by its outer rectrices during courtship. It also differs slightly in plumage (Wilson's has reduced white on trailing edge of wing and underwing coverts) and has fewer and narrower rectrices. Pintail Snipe and Swinhoe's Snipe both have shorter tail, not projecting beyond the wings and have longer primary projection. See also the much smaller Jack Snipe.


Breeds in northern Palearctic; winters in southern Europe, Africa, and Asia.


Formerly included Wilson's Snipe (delicata), now recognized as a full species.


Photo © by Copout
Barton, Lincolnshire, 3 February 2009

There are 2 subspecies1:


They breed in marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows.


The cryptic plumage makes them difficult to see amongst the vegetation. When disturbed, they fly off in a series of zig-zags.


The nest is well concealed on the ground.


Diet includes insects, earthworms, small crustaceans, small gastropods and spiders.

Winnowing display flight
Photo © by Robert L Jarvis
Teesdale, Yorkshire, 11 April 2010


Mostly migratory, wintering south to northern tropics; some populations sedentary or partially migratory,


The song has been described as "Chip..per Chip..per."
Breeding display produces a drumming sound


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds.
  3. Thread describing the differences between this species and Wilson's Snipe.
  4. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, March 10). Common snipe. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:05, May 16, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Common_snipe&oldid=887102985
  5. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.
  6. Howell, S.N.G., Lewington, I. & Russell, W. (2014) Rare Birds of North America. Princeton Univ. Press
  7. Mccleese, C. 2018. "Gallinago gallinago" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 19, 2019 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Gallinago_gallinago/
  8. Rasmussen, P.C. & Anderton, J.C. (2005) Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide. Vols. 1 and 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions, Washington, D.C. & Barcelona.
  9. Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53878 on 19 April 2019).

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