Snipe

Snipe

Scientific name: Gallinago gallinago

Did you know: Snipes have a bill tip brimming with nerves, enabling them to detect and snatch worms deep underground!

What Do Snipes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Snipes are enchanting medium-sized waders, famed for their long, straight bills and short legs. They boast a beautiful mottled brown plumage, adorned with buff stripes on their backs and streaks on their chests, complemented by lighter underparts. 

In the UK, Snipes are a common breeding species, particularly thriving in the northern uplands, though they’re sparser in the southern lowlands.

Differences Between Male And Female Snipes

Interestingly, both male and female Snipes share a similar appearance, making it a delightful challenge to distinguish between them. They both sport the same intricate brown, black, and buff feather patterns, ensuring their survival through excellent camouflage.

What Do Snipes Eat?

Snipes are connoisseurs of small invertebrates. Their diet mainly consists of insect larvae, but they’re also partial to snails, crustaceans, and worms. The unique structure of their bill allows them to delicately slurp up their prey, a marvel of nature’s design!

Where Do Snipes Live? (inc. migration info)

Snipes are at home in the UK’s marshes, wet meadows, and moorlands. They prefer marshy areas with patchy cover, skillfully avoiding dense vegetation. The UK sees a remarkable increase in Snipe population during winter when Northern European Snipes join the resident birds, resulting in a delightful seasonal shift.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Snipes)

Keep your ears tuned for the ‘drumming’ sound of male Snipes during their aerial courtship display. This isn’t a vocal call but a magical sound produced by their tail feathers in the wind. It’s a unique and enchanting aspect of their behaviour, adding to the mystique of these creatures.

Fun Snipe Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Snipe can “sew” through mud with their bills to find food.
  • They have eyes positioned high on their head, helping them spot danger while foraging.
  • Snipe are part of the Scolopacidae family, which includes around 26 species.
  • The term ‘sniper’ originated from hunters skilled in targeting these elusive birds.
  • A group of Snipe is called a ‘wisp’, reflecting their erratic flight patterns.

Facts About The Snipe

Diet: Small invertebrates, including worms and insect larvae.
Bird Family: Sandpipers, snipes and phalaropes
Length: 23-28cm
Wingspan: 39-45cm
Weight: 80-120g
Scientific Name: Gallinago gallinago

The Snipe Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Snipe Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile