Snipe

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Snipe
Gallinago stenura - Laem Pak Bia.jpg
Pin-tailed snipe (Gallinago stenura)
Scientific classification
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A snipe is any of about 26 wading bird species in three genera in the family Scolopacidae. They are characterized by a very long, slender bill, eyes placed high on the head, and cryptic/camouflaging plumage. The Gallinago snipes have a nearly worldwide distribution, the Lymnocryptes snipe is restricted to Asia and Europe and the Coenocorypha snipes are found only in the outlying islands of New Zealand. The four species of painted snipe are not closely related to the typical snipes, and are placed in their own family, the Rostratulidae.

Contents

Behaviour

Snipes search for invertebrates in the mud with a "sewing-machine" action of their long bills. The sensitivity of the bill is caused by filaments belonging to the fifth pair of nerves, which run almost to the tip and open immediately under the soft cuticle in a series of cells; a like adaptation is found in sandpipers; they give this portion of the surface of the premaxillaries a honeycomb-like appearance: with these filaments the bird can sense its food in the mud without seeing it. [1]

Diet

Snipes feed mainly on insect larva. Other invertebrate prey include snails, crustacea, and worms. The snipe's bill allows the very tip to remain closed while the snipe slurps up invertebrates. [2]

Habitat

Snipes can be found in various types of wet marshy settings including bogs, swamps, wet meadows, and along rivers, coast lines, and ponds. Snipes avoid settling in areas with dense vegetation, but rather seek marshy areas with patchy cover to hide from predators. [2]

Hunting

Depiction of a snipe hunter, by A. B. Frost Bay Snipe, by A B Frost from Shooting Pictures, by Scribner & Sons, 1895.jpeg
Depiction of a snipe hunter, by A. B. Frost

Camouflage may enable snipes to remain undetected by hunters in marshland. If the snipe flies, hunters have difficulty wing-shooting due to the bird's erratic flight pattern. The difficulties involved in hunting snipes gave rise to the term sniper , meaning a hunter highly skilled in marksmanship and camouflaging, which later evolved to mean a sharpshooter or someone who shoots from a concealed location. [3] [4]

See also

Footnotes

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Newton, Alfred (1911). "Snipe". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. 1 2 "Wilson's Snipe, Life History, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology".
  3. "sniper (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  4. Palmatier, Robert Allen (1995). Speaking of Animals: A Dictionary of Animal Metaphors. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing. p. 357. ISBN   0313294909.

Related Research Articles

Sandpiper Family of birds

Sandpipers are a large family, Scolopacidae, of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers, as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Curlew Genus of birds

The curlews, genus Numenius, are a group of nine species of birds, characterised by long, slender, downcurved bills and mottled brown plumage. The English name is imitative of the Eurasian curlew's call, but may have been influenced by the Old French corliu, "messenger", from courir , "to run". It was first recorded in 1377 in Langland's Piers Plowman "Fissch to lyue in þe flode..Þe corlue by kynde of þe eyre". In Europe "curlew" usually refers to one species, the Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata.

Common greenshank Species of bird

The common greenshank is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific nebularia is from Latin nebula "mist". Like the Norwegian Skoddefoll, this refers to the greenshank's damp marshy habitat.

Common snipe Species of bird

The common snipe is a small, stocky wader native to the Old World. The scientific name gallinago is New Latin for a woodcock or snipe from Latin gallina, "hen" and the suffix -ago, "resembling".

Wilsons snipe Species of bird

Wilson's snipe is a small, stocky shorebird. The genus name gallinago is New Latin for a woodcock or snipe from Latin gallina, "hen" and the suffix -ago, "resembling". The specific delicata is Latin for "dainty".

Eurasian woodcock Species of bird

The Eurasian woodcock is a medium-small wading bird found in temperate and subarctic Eurasia. It has cryptic camouflage to suit its woodland habitat, with reddish-brown upperparts and buff-coloured underparts. Its eyes are set far back on its head to give it 360-degree vision and it probes in the ground for food with its long, sensitive bill, making it vulnerable to cold weather when the ground remains frozen.

Short-billed dowitcher Species of bird

The short-billed dowitcher, like its congener the long-billed dowitcher, is a medium-sized, stocky, long-billed shorebird in the family Scolopacidae. The genus name Limnodromus is Ancient Greek from limne, "marsh" and dromos, "racer". The specific griseus is Medieval Latin for "grey". The English name is from Iroquois and was first recorded in 1841.

Jack snipe Species of bird

The jack snipe or jacksnipe is a small stocky wader. It is the smallest snipe, and the only member of the genus Lymnocryptes. Features such as its sternum make it quite distinct from other snipes or woodcocks.

Great snipe Species of bird

The great snipe is a small stocky wader in the genus Gallinago. This bird's breeding habitat is marshes and wet meadows with short vegetation in north-eastern Europe, including north-western Russia. Great snipes are migratory, wintering in Africa. The European breeding population is in steep decline.

Red-necked stint Species of bird

The red-necked stint is a small migratory wader. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific ruficollis is from Latin rufus, "red" and collum, "neck".

Game (hunting)

Game or quarry is any animal hunted for food, and the meat of those animals. The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world.

Waterfowl hunting

Waterfowl hunting is the practice of hunting ducks, geese, or other waterfowl for food and sport.

African snipe Species of bird

The African snipe also known as the Ethiopian snipe, is a small stocky wader. It breeds in eastern and southern Africa in wet mountain moorland and swamps at altitudes of 1,700–4,000 m (5,600–13,100 ft). When not breeding it disperses widely, including into coastal lowlands.

Madagascan snipe Species of bird

The Madagascan snipe is a small stocky wader. It breeds only in the humid eastern half of Madagascar, from sea-level up to 2,700 m, being more common above 700 m. It is non-migratory.

Solitary snipe Species of bird

The solitary snipe is a small stocky wader. It is found in the Palearctic from northeast Iran to Japan and Korea.

The Jameson's snipe or Andean snipe is a small, stocky wader. It breeds in the Andes in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It appears to be entirely sedentary, with no evidence of migration.

Noble snipe Species of bird

The noble snipe is a small stocky wader. It breeds in the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela above or just below the treeline. It is entirely sedentary.