Image 17 of 191
Snipe Gallinago gallinago L 25-28cm. Distinctive, even in silhouette: has dumpy body, rather short legs and very long, straight bill. Feeds by probing bill in a sewing machine-like manner. Sexes and ages are similar. Adult and juvenile have mainly buffish brown upperparts, beautifully patterned with black and white lines and bars. Note distinctive stripes on head, streaked and barred breast and flanks, and white underparts. Voice Utters one or two sneeze-like kreech calls when flushed. Performs ‘drumming’ display in breeding season: sound caused by vibrating tail feathers. Status Locally common and invariably associated with boggy ground. In breeding season, favours marshes, meadows and moorland bogs. Winter numbers boosted by migrants and then found on wide range of wetland habitats. Sadly, tens of thousands of birds are shot each year.