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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Snipe

Bird Sightings - Snipe
A wisp of snipe

Snipe

(Common Snipe, Whole Snipe, Full Snipe, Fantail Snipe, Snite, Horse Gokk, Horse Gowk, Snippo, Snip, Water Pleep, Snippek, Little Goat of the Frost)

Gallinago gallinago

Gaelic: Gobhar-adhair, Naosg

Photograph © Suzanne Harris
Callanish - Isle of lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
3rd September, 2008

"At the shore of East Loch Roag. 7 birds with rufous colouring. I was not expecting to see them... just saw the curve of the top of the head of one and thought it was a curlew (lots of them in this area), but the bird stayed stock still which seemed odd because the curlews just carry on or fly - then I saw the bill and the colour, and suddenly 7 of them flew up, a lovely surprise on a very fine morning. I thought they were bar-tailed godwits but ..."

"Just a quick note to say the birds in the pic labelled bar tailed Godwit are actually Snipe
 Cheers
 Martin"

(It was an exceptionally high tide and the saltmarsh was completely submerged so there was quite tall vegetation right down to the water's edge - thats where they were, textbook snipe winter habitat!)

 

Our Snipe photographs

Common Snipe
Common Snipe
Common Snipe

Snipe

Snipe

Snipe

 

  • Snipe (Common Snipe, Whole Snipe, Full Snipe, Fantail Snipe, Snite, Horse Gokk, Horse Gowk, Snippo, Snip, Water Pleep, Snippek, Little Goat of the Frost)
  • Gallinago gallinago
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Breeding 59,300 pairs. Wintering 100,000+ birds RSPB
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs) and passage visitor (small numbers)
  • Breeding: Nest hidden & on ground. Moorland, Marshes, bogs, tundra, wet meadows. Iceland, Faroes, N Europe, N Asia, N America, Russia.
  • Winters: Pool edges in well wetlands with good vegetation. Wet grassland. European birds in S Europe & Africa. Some N European birds join resident UK birds. (N Asian birds go to S Asia)
  • Medium sized, well-camouflaged wader (23-28cm, 11inches length). Short, greenish-grey legs. Very long, straight, dark bill. Mottled brown above (pale buff stripes on back & chest has dark streaks). Pale below. Dark stripe through eye & light stripes above & below eye). Pointed wings. Sexes similar. Skulking - usually shy, hides in ground vegetation. if closely approached takes flight (aerial zig-zags)
    Diet: Forages in soft mud or shallow water, probing & picking up food by sight & touch. Mainly insects, larvae, earthworms, some plant material
  • Typical lifespan 4 yrs. Max recorded age 16yrs
  • Similar birds. Woodcock, Jack Snipe (Starling sized), Bar-tailed Godwit (no dark stripe through eye)

 

"There is a bird that you may be able to shed light on. I have only heard it at night and it sounds like a pigeon on steroids, not a cooing but a grrrrup sort of noise? Any idea from that amazing description as to what it is? It has been calling for over a month and getting replies. "
Jude
May 2007

As part of courtship display the male Snipe climbs high in sky then dives down at a slant with tail feathers spread. The air rushing through causes the outermost tail feathers to vibrate and makes a sound which is heard in the early mornings and warm summer evenings, it is called drumming, winnowing, and sometimes bleating. There is a recording on this page (British Library Sound Archive)

 

 

Snipe in the Western Isles

Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs) and passage visitor (small numbers)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report


On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the bird is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

 

 

Collective nouns for Snipe

More than one bird is called a wisp of Snipe, or a walk of Snipe.

 

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section


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