- 10.6–12.6 in
- 16.1–17.3 in
- 2.8–5.1 oz
- Common Snipe
- Bécassine de Wilson (French)
- Agachona común, Becasina chillona (Spanish)
- The Wilson's Snipe was recently recognized as a different species from the Common Snipe of Eurasia. The two snipes look extremely similar, but differ in the shape, patterning, and usually the number of the tail feathers. The Wilson's Snipe typically has 16 tail feathers, whereas the Common Snipe has 14. These numbers vary, however, and a Common Snipe may have from 12 to 18 tail feathers.
- The hollow, low whistled sound called "winnowing" is used by the male to defend his territory and attract a mate. It is not a vocal sound, but rather is produced by air flowing over the outstretched tail feathers with each wingbeat. The outer tail feathers are greatly modified to produce the sound and are thin and curved.
- The long bill of the Wilson's Snipe is flexible. The tips can be opened and closed with no movement at the base of the bill. Sensory pits at the tip of the bill allow the snipe to feel its prey deep in the mud.
- The clutch size of the Wilson's Snipe is almost always four eggs. The male snipe takes the first two chicks to hatch and leaves the nest with them. The female takes the last two and cares for them. Apparently the parents have no contact after that point.
Breeds in bogs, fens, swamps, and around the marshy edges of ponds, rivers, and brooks. Forages in marshes, wet meadows, wet fields, and the marshy edges of streams and ditches.
Larval insects, worms, crustaceans, mollusks, some vegetation and seeds.
- Clutch Size
- 2–4 eggs
- Egg Description
- Dark or pale brown, covered by darker spots.
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy chicks leave nest soon after hatching.
Neat, woven cup of grasses placed on ground, often in hummock of grass close to or surrounded by water.
Probes in soil and mud, frequently sticking entire bill, and sometimes its head, under water. Swallows small items without withdrawing its bill.
Common. Hunted in many places.
- Mueller, H. 1999. Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago). In The Birds of North America, No. 417 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.