|Conservation status||Probably far more abundant at one time, reduced by market hunting in late 19th century and by loss of habitat; however, still widespread and common.|
|Habitat||Marshes, bogs, wet meadows. In migration and winter found in a variety of damp habitats including fresh and salt marshes, muddy banks of rivers and ponds, wet pastures, flooded agricultural fields. In breeding season mostly around fresh marshes and bogs, shrubby streamsides, northern tundra.|
Forages mostly by probing in soft mud; bill tip is sensitive and flexible, allowing the snipe to detect and capture prey underground. Also captures some food in shallow water or from surface of ground.
4, sometimes 3. Brown to olive-buff, marked with dark brown. Incubation is by female only, 18-21 days. Young: Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Parents may split brood, each caring for 1-2 of the chicks. Parents feed young at first, before they learn to find own food. Age at first flight about 19-20 days.
Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Parents may split brood, each caring for 1-2 of the chicks. Parents feed young at first, before they learn to find own food. Age at first flight about 19-20 days.
Mostly insects and earthworms. Eats many insects that burrow in damp soil or live in shallow water, such as larvae of crane flies, horse flies, various beetles, many others. At some places, diet includes many earthworms. Also eats some leeches, crustaceans, mollusks, spiders, frogs, leaves, seeds.
In breeding season, especially at night, male performs "winnowing" display: flies in high circles, periodically making shallow dives; during dive, vibration of outer tail feathers produces a hollow whinnying sound. In aggressive and distraction displays on ground, bird crouches, raising and spreading tail to show off pattern. Nest site is on ground, usually well hidden in clump of grass or buried in tundra vegetation. Nest (built by female) is shallow depression lined with fine grasses, leaves, moss, sometimes with overhanging plants woven into a kind of canopy.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Winters commonly in North America, but some travel longer distances; birds banded in Canada have reached Lesser Antilles and South America. Probably migrates alone, not in flocks.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA sharp rasping scaip! when flushed.
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