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Swinhoe's Snipe? Tainan County, Taiwan August

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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 02:29   #1
SteveMM
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Swinhoe's Snipe? Tainan County, Taiwan August

Pictures are not the best, I'm afraid!

The snipe on the left in the first photo shows both more white in the tail and a more patterned tail than I typically see on Swinhoe's Snipe. I've enlarged this bird and pasted the bird on the right (for me, a typical Swinhoe's Snipe) next to it for comparison. On the second photo and composite, the bird of interest is now on the right.

Is this just another Swinhoe's Snipe?

Steve
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Last edited by SteveMM : Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 02:32.
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 06:22   #2
johnallcock
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I would have said that the bird on the right (photos 1 and 2) and left (photos 3 & 4) is most likely a Pintail Snipe, as it appears from the tail structure that it has many narrow outer tail feathers. If I understand correctly from your question, this is the one that you are calling a 'typical' Swinhoe's Snipe.

Compared to Pintail, Swinhoe's has broader tail feathers with more white and a more obvious black/white pattern, as seems to be the case for the bird you are asking about (on the left and then right).
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 09:03   #3
SteveMM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnallcock View Post
I would have said that the bird on the right (photos 1 and 2) and left (photos 3 & 4) is most likely a Pintail Snipe, as it appears from the tail structure that it has many narrow outer tail feathers. If I understand correctly from your question, this is the one that you are calling a 'typical' Swinhoe's Snipe.

Compared to Pintail, Swinhoe's has broader tail feathers with more white and a more obvious black/white pattern, as seems to be the case for the bird you are asking about (on the left and then right).
Thanks for the response, John. This is a possibility, I suppose. And yes, you do have these birds the right way round.

By 'typical', I mean the tail is 'dark-looking' either side of the orange (as in the Swinhoe's attached). In the 'bird of interest', the tail appears more 'barred-looking', with lots of white and at least one complete broad white band reaching right to the outermost tail feather.

The tail of Swinhoe's Snipe is very variable (e.g. https://ayuwat.wordpress.com/2013/10...wintail-snipe/) with the outermost feathers narrow and 'pin-like'. In photos as grainy as those in #1, I don't think individual pins would be visible, though individual tail feathers seem to be.

Steve
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 09:24   #4
THE_FERN
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According to this
http:// https://digdeep1962.wordpres...snipes-part-2/
(and more importantly the British Birds article it references), barred outer tail feathers are indicative of Swinhoes. We can see this clearly on the left hand bird of photo two, and, as John says, there seem to be lots of thin bunched outer feathers on the right hand bird suggesting this is pintail. I also see a slight difference in wing length which agrees with this (but understand this is difficult to judge). My experience (and some photos) suggest that Swinhoe's may appear a bit paler in the field but this isn't definitive
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 12:22   #5
SteveMM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THE_FERN View Post
According to this
http:// https://digdeep1962.wordpres...snipes-part-2/
(and more importantly the British Birds article it references), barred outer tail feathers are indicative of Swinhoes. We can see this clearly on the left hand bird of photo two, and, as John says, there seem to be lots of thin bunched outer feathers on the right hand bird suggesting this is pintail. I also see a slight difference in wing length which agrees with this (but understand this is difficult to judge). My experience (and some photos) suggest that Swinhoe's may appear a bit paler in the field but this isn't definitive
Thanks a lot for your response The Fern, although this thread hasn't quite panned out the way I thought it might!

As regards my initial question in #1, I guess the answer to that (Is it Swinhoe's?) has to be 'Yes', then. I wondered if anyone might suggest Latham's (of which I can find no spread tail photos), on the grounds that (in addition to all the white) it appears to have fewer and broader tail feathers than 'the other snipe' (in #1).

To be a bit of a bore (sorry), here are some links showing what for me is the 'typical' tail pattern of Swinhoe's Snipe (mostly dark basally and either side of the orange feathers, with narrow outermost feathers), so you can see why I think the bird in #1 stands out:

http://stints.a.la9.jp/snipes/gallin...17/070917.html
http://stints.a.la9.jp/snipes/gallin...02/040902.html
http://stints.a.la9.jp/snipes/gallin...09/010909.html
http://stints.a.la9.jp/snipes/gallin...C/040905C.html

However, as this last Swinhoe's Snipe shows a tail pattern more like the bird in #1 (and the link you provide suggests barred outer rects is indicative of Swinhoe's), I guess that will be 'case closed':

http://stints.a.la9.jp/snipes/gallin...B/040905B.html

As regards 'the other snipe', I can see the cluster of narrow outermost feathers both you and John refer to, but think that they are precisely that: a small number of narrow feathers. I don't see the abrupt transtion from broad feathers to 'pins' I would expect on a Pintail, and it looks to me like the feathers between the pins and the central tail feathers are of intermediate width. As the photos in #1 are greatly enlarged from the originals (as is the enlargement below), I'm not sure that it is really possible to judge precisely what is going on there TBH.

Steve
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Last edited by SteveMM : Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 13:42. Reason: Photo added
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Old Thursday 23rd August 2018, 11:40   #6
SteveMM
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Hopefully of interest to someone! According to the paper here: http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/sites/al...se%20Snipe.pdf, Latham's Snipe is "unique among migratory Gallinago in doing virtually all moult (including all remiges) in non-breeding areas", something I did not know. The bird in #1 must therefore be a Swinhoe's Snipe on account of the suspended moult in the primaries and the tail pattern.

Steve
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