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Order Waders, Gulls, Skuas/Charadriiformes, Family Sandpipers/Scolopacidae

Common Snipe/Gallinago gallinago - Adult

L 23-28 cm (incl. bill c. 7), WS 39-45 cm. Breeds in marshes, bogs and damp meadows with short, dense vegetation; on passage and in winter, also small muddy patches, pool margins, ditches, seashores, pastures, etc., often in small groups. Nest usually well concealed in vegetation.
IDENTIFICATION: Medium-sized wader; prefers cover, but when seen in open shows distinctive combination of disproportionately long, straight bill, rather dumpy shape, short-legged, crouching posture, and striped head and body. When flushed (usually within 10-15 m), zigzags fast, giving distinctive call and showing thin white trailing edge to wing, then towers quickly on twisting course. Plumage basically brown, with boldly striped head and upperparts. Flanks barred dark, belly white (which from some angles is difficult to see, falsely ‘signalling’ Great Snipe). All plumages similar.
VOICE: Flight-call on take-off is abrupt, scraping ‘catch!’ (like a rubber boot being pulled out of soft mud); tends to be disyllabic, ‘ca-atch!’ (like a muffled sneeze). Vocal song (from post or other perch) often long-sustained ‘chip-per chip-per chip-per …’; but as main display has distinctive ‘drumming’ sound, a throbbing, bleating ‘hühühühühühühühühü …’, produced by air vibrating through spread outer tail-feathers in intermittent short, steep dives during wide-circling displayflight, mostly at dusk.

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