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Common Snipe
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
† see also: wader

Snipe is a term used to describe 18 very similar wading bird species, characterised by a very long slender bill and cryptic plumage.

These are birds of marshy areas which often crouch motionless when disturbed until exploding away when almost underfoot.

They search for invertebrates in the mud with a "sewing-machine" action of their long bills.

Most have distinctive displays, usually given at dawn or dusk.

There are two southern snipe species in the genus Coenocorypha, 15 typical snipe in the genus Gallinago, and the very small Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus.

Species are:

Family: Scolopacidae

  • Chatham Snipe, Coenocorypha pusilla
  • Subantarctic Snipe, Coenocorypha aucklandica

  • Solitary Snipe, Gallinago solitaria
  • Latham's Snipe, Gallinago hardwickii
  • Wood Snipe, Gallinago nemoricola
  • Pintail Snipe, Gallinago stenura
  • Swinhoe's Snipe, Gallinago megala
  • African Snipe, Gallinago nigripennis
  • Madagascar Snipe, Gallinago macrodactyla
  • Great Snipe, Gallinago media
  • Common Snipe[?], Gallinago gallinago
    • The American race, G. g. delicata is sometimes considered a separate species, Wilson's Snipe.
  • South American Snipe, Gallinago paraguaiae
  • Noble Snipe, Gallinago nobilis
  • Giant Snipe, Gallinago undulata
  • Fuegian Snipe, Gallinago stricklandii
  • Andean Snipe, Gallinago jamesoni
  • Imperial Snipe, Gallinago imperialis

A snipe hunt is a practical joke in which a victim is told they are going to hunt snipe in an area where they are guaranteed not to be, and are then left there.

The term is also used to describe a low-life, although this is more commonly known as a guttersnipe.

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