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 and crypsis, or camouflage, 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.

Long-legged bird with long bill wading in marsh
Pin-tailed snipe (Gallinago stenura)
Scientific classification


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 similar adaptation is found in sandpipers. They give this portion of the surface of the premaxillaries a honeycomb-like appearance. Through these filaments the bird can sense its food in the mud without seeing it.[1]


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]


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


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 snipe 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]

"Going on a snipe hunt" is a phrase suggesting a fool's errand, or an impossible task. As an American rite of passage, it is often associated with summer camps and groups such as the Boy Scouts.[5]

See also


  1. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainNewton, Alfred (1911). "Snipe". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b "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.
  5. ^ Fee, Christopher R.; Webb, Jeffrey B., eds. (2016). American myths, legends, and tall tales : an encyclopedia of American folklore. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 514. ISBN 9781610695671.

External links


Athericidae is a small family of flies known as water snipe flies or ibis flies. They used to be placed in the family Rhagionidae, but were removed by Stuckenberg in 1973. They are now known to be more closely related to Tabanidae. Species of Athericidae are found worldwide.

Bean's sawtooth eel

The Bean's sawtooth eel (Serrivomer beanii, also known commonly as the longfin sawpalate, the saw-tooth snipe eel, the sawtooth eel, the shortnosed snipe eel, and the stout sawpalate) is an eel in the family Nemichthyidae (snipe eels). It was described by Theodore Gill and John Adam Ryder in 1883. It is a marine, deep water-dwelling eel which is known from throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific Ocean, including Iceland, South Africa (the Cape and Natal), Réunion, and Australia. It dwells at a depth range of 0–5998 metres, and leads a solitary lifestyle. It migrates vertically at night. Males can reach a maximum total length of 78 centimetres.The species epithet "beanii" was given in honour of American ichthyologist Tarleton Hoffman Bean. The Bean's sawtooth eel feeds primarily on benthic crustaceans including shrimps, and finfish. It is preyed upon by the Warty oreo (Allocyttus verrucosus). It is of no commercial interest to fisheries.

Common snipe

The common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 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".The breeding habitat is marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows throughout northern Europe and northern Asia. It is migratory, with European birds wintering in southern and western Europe and Africa (south to the Equator), and Asian migrants moving to tropical southern Asia. The North American Wilson's snipe was previously considered the same species, and is listed as such in older field guides.


The dunlin (Calidris alpina) is a small wader, sometimes separated with the other "stints" in Erolia. The English name is a dialect form of "dunling", first recorded in 1531–2. It derives from dun, "dull brown", with the suffix -ling, meaning a person or thing with the given quality. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific alpina is from Latin and means "of high mountains", in this case referring to the Alps.It is a circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Birds that breed in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic migrate short distances to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, although those nesting in northern Alaska overwinter in Asia. Many dunlins winter along the Iberian south coast.

Great snipe

The great snipe (Gallinago media) 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.

Greater painted-snipe

The greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is a species of wader in the family Rostratulidae. It is found in marshes in Africa, South Asia and South-east Asia.

Jack snipe

The jack snipe/jacksnipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) 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.

North Island snipe

The North Island snipe (Coenocorypha barrierensis), also known as the little barrier snipe or tutukiwi, is an extinct species of bird in the sandpiper family, Scolopacidae, that was endemic to New Zealand.

Operation Jacana

Operation Jacana is the codename for a series of operations carried out by coalition forces in Afghanistan. The operations were carried out most notably by 45 Commando Royal Marines. U.S. forces, Australian SAS and Norwegian FSK also participated. The operation was a follow-up operation of Operation Anaconda and was meant to kill or capture the remaining Al-Qaida and Taliban rebels. The operation has been called a "mopping up" operation after Operation Anaconda. The operation is named after an African bird type, jacana, described in one manual as "shy, retiring, easily overlooked".

Operation Jacana includes the following operations:

Operation Ptarmigan

Operation Snipe

Operation Condor

Operation BuzzardAll these operations were meant to "clean up" the remaining Al-Qaida and Taliban forces out of the area of operations.


The Rostratulidae (commonly known as painted-snipes), form a taxonomic family of wader species, composed of two genera: Rostratula and Nycticryphes.

At present two species, the South American and greater painted-snipes, are not considered threatened by human activities; however, the Australian painted-snipe has declined and is considered endangered in Australia.

Pin-tailed snipe

The pin-tailed snipe or pintail snipe (Gallinago stenura) is a species of bird in the family Scolopacidae, the sandpipers.


Rhagionidae or snipe flies are a small family of flies.

Rural Municipality of Snipe Lake No. 259

Snipe Lake No. 259 is a rural municipality in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, located in the Census Division 8 The population was 427 at the 2006 Census. The seat of the municipality is located in the Town of Eston.

Santiago Lange

Santiago Raúl Lange (born September 22, 1961 in San Isidro, Argentina) is an Argentine Olympic sailor and a naval architect.

Lange competed in six editions of the Summer Olympics representing Argentina in: 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2016. He obtained two bronze medals in the category Tornado along with teammate Carlos Espínola (2004 and 2008) and the gold medal in the category Nacra 17 alongside Cecilia Carranza Saroli in 2016.

He is 4 times World Champion, with 3 Snipe World Championships (1985, 1993 and 1995) and 1 Tornado World Championship (2004), twice runner-up in 1987 (Snipe) and 2006 (Tornado), and 3 times third place in 1979 (Cadet), 2003 (Tornado) and 2018 (Nacra 17).

He also won the silver medal at the 1987 Pan American Games (Snipe) and the 1995 Pan American Games (Laser).

In 1985 he won the Snipe South American Championship.

He has twice sailed the Volvo Ocean Race; in 2001–02 on Team SEB and in 2008–09 on Telefónica Black.He sailed for Victory Challenge in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup. Santiago Lange was a member of Artemis Racing, the Swedish Challenger for the 34th America's Cup.Lange's sons Yago and Klaus are also Olympic sailors.In 2016, he was named Sailor of the Year by World Sailing.

Snipe (dinghy)

The Snipe is a ​15 1⁄2 foot, 2 person, one design racing dinghy. Designed by William F. Crosby in 1931, it has evolved into a modern, tactical racing dinghy with fleets around the world. The class is governed by the Snipe Class International Racing Association (SCIRA) and recognized by the International Sailing Federation as an International Class sailed in 30 different countries. There have been over 31,000 Snipes constructed worldwide.

The global Snipe slogan is "Serious sailing, Serious fun".

The Snipe class has both developed and attracted some of the sailing world's top competitors. Four of the top olympic medalists in sailing (Torben Grael, Paul Elvstrøm, Robert Scheidt and Mark Reynolds) have competed in the Snipe. Five Snipe sailors have received the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Awards: Mark Reynolds, Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael, Anna Tunnicliffe and Santiago Lange.

Snipe hunt

A snipe hunt is a type of practical joke or fool's errand, in existence in North America as early as the 1840s, in which an unsuspecting newcomer is duped into trying to catch a non-existent animal called a snipe. While snipe are actual birds, a snipe hunt is a quest for an imaginary creature whose description varies.

The target of the prank is led to an outdoor spot and given instructions for catching the snipe; these often include waiting in the dark and holding an empty bag or making noises to attract the creature. The others involved in the prank then leave the newcomer alone in the woods to discover the joke. As an American rite of passage, snipe hunting is often associated with summer camps and groups such as the Boy Scouts.

Sopwith Snipe

The Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe was a British single-seat biplane fighter of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was designed and built by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War, and came into squadron service a few weeks before the end of the conflict, in late 1918.

The Snipe was not a fast aircraft by the standards of its time, but its excellent climb and manoeuvrability made it a good match for contemporary German fighters.

It was selected as the standard postwar single-seat RAF fighter and the last examples were not retired until 1926.

South Island snipe

The South Island snipe (Coenocorypha iredalei), also known as the Stewart Island snipe or tutukiwi in Māori, is an extinct species of bird in the sandpiper family Scolopacidae that was endemic to New Zealand.

Wilson's snipe

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata) is a small, stocky shorebird.[1] 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".This species was considered to be a subspecies of the common snipe (G. gallinago) until 2003 when it was given its own species status, though not all authorities recognized this immediately. Wilson's snipe differs from the latter species in having a narrower white trailing edge to the wings, and eight pairs of tail feathers instead of the typical seven of the common snipe. Its common name commemorates the American ornithologist Alexander Wilson.


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