Fun Common Snipe Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 02, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Read these common snipe facts about this amazing bird!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The common snipe is a small bird belonging to the Old World group of birds. The common snipe, scientific name, 'Gallinago', is New Latin for a woodcock or snipe from Latin 'Gallina'. Names of the snipe also include mire snipe, horse gowk, and heather bleat.

Others have compared the 'drumming' sound of feathers that the male common snipes make during courting to the sounds of a sheep or goat. Thus, in several languages, the snipe is also called the flying goat, heaven's ram, and 'taivaanvuohi' in Finnish, meaning 'sky goat'.

An English animal scientist, Prince Philip Manson-Bahr, is attributed to unraveling the mystery of the drumming sound. He found out that the sound was created by inserting out two tail feathers at ninety degrees to the direction of flight. The snipe also makes a unique breathy sound when they start flapping their feathers.

This species from South America have a versatile tip of the beak; it's packed with nerves and helps these birds feel and grab their prey underground.

Let's have a look at these interesting facts, and if you like these, do read our peach-faced lovebird facts and pitta bird facts.

Common Snipe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common snipe?

Common snipes from South America and Europe are social birds that typically forage in small teams and flocks of up to 500 at their feeding grounds. These species feed at dawn and walk on soft mud, finding their food by sight.

These birds hide with the help of the ground vegetation and flee only when closely approached. Once flushed, they make a shrill note and fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags to confuse their predators. They are shy birds that hide near ground vegetation.

What class of animal does a common snipe belong to?

These snipe birds of order Charadriiformes belong to the class Aves.

How many common snipes are there in the world?

There are 5,350,000-10,100,000 common snipes in the world.

Where does a common snipe live?

The common snipe is found all over the Palearctic. In the north, the common snipe range is located in Iceland, over the north of the British Isles and Northern Fennoscandia, and all over Europe, Russia, and Siberia.

Migration from the common snipe habitat takes place in winters. One common snipe behavior is that their migration occurs at night in flocks or wisps where they fly at night to different habitats. During the summer, they are commonly found in Iceland.

What is a common snipe's habitat?

These snipe species of the south wading birds live in bogs, marshes, taiga, tundra, grass near rivers and lakes, rice fields, wet meadows, estuaries, and ponds.

Who do common snipes live with?

These birds live with their own family, Scolopacidae.

How long does a common snipe live?

This snipe's lifespan is eight to nine years.

How do they reproduce?

The common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) is a wading bird that is found in wet meadows and is monogamous. The call of the common snipe male is made in the breeding season to attract the female bird.

To draw in the females, males perform a 'winnowing' display; they fly high in a circle and take shallow dives to make a 'drumming' sound by vibrating their tail feathers.

The common snipe's mating dance is mesmerizing to watch. They then nest in an exceedingly well-hidden location on the ground to lay their eggs. They lay four eggs of a dark olive color that are blotchy and marked with brown.

The females incubate the eggs for 18-21 days. The freshly hatched chicks are helpless and are taken care of by the parents.

They are lined in dark maroon and also have shades of black and white. Each parent takes care of half of the brood. The young then begin to fly the nest after they are between 10-20 days old.

What is their conservation status?

The common snipe has the conservation category of Least Concern according to the IUCN, so we need not worry about their populations in their habitat in North and Central America and other places. The range of their populations is under control.

Common Snipe Fun Facts

What do common snipes look like?

Fun Common Snipe Facts For Kids

Common snipes (Gallinago gallinago) are walking birds with short legs and short necks. Their bills or beaks, which are used for finding their food, are double the size of their heads.

They have a long and pointed beak. Male snipes are slightly heavier than female snipes. Snipes, as juveniles, are black and brown with yellow-tinted stripes down their dorsal sides with white ventral feathers.

The juvenile common snipe's bill is 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long. As common snipes grow out of the juvenile stage, they lose their yellow tint and turn brown with black stripes and white ventral feathers.

How cute are they?

These wading birds, found in edgy marshes of the lakes and wet meadows, are very cute to look at.

How do they communicate?

The common snipe communicates with a loud and long call that sounds like 'chik-kot', often heard at dusk or dawn when they are most active.

How big is a common snipe?

Common snipe birds are small birds with an approximate length of 10.6 in (27 cm).

How fast can a common snipe fly?

A common snipe can fly at a speed range of around 55 mph (88.5 kph).

How much does a common snipe weigh?

A common snipe (family Scolopacidae) weighs in the range of 3-6oz (80-140g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for the common snipe.

What would you call a baby common snipe?

A baby common snipe is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The common snipe is carnivorous. This species mainly feeds on insects, earthworms, small crustaceans, snails, spiders, and occasionally plant material.

Are they friendly?

These birds are friendly in the sense that they are no threat to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

This species would not make good pets because of their eating, breeding, and living habits. They are wild birds that will not be able to survive in a domestic environment.

Did you know...

A breeding male makes the typical common snipe,  Gallinago gallinago, sound to draw in females on early spring mornings - a sound created by beating their outer tail plumage and wings.

This species of South America are territorial birds, building grass-lined nests on the dry ground in marshes, swamps, or fens.

As they're migratory birds, common snipes in the northern continents fly south towards the habitats in Africa; the United Kingdom receives these common wintering snipes, and sometimes Asia.

The Yankee phrase, 'going on a snipe hunt,' means 'running a fool's errand'.

Snipes found in South America are commonly predated by the red fox, the New World vulture, and stoats.

Are you curious about hunting common snipe? The snipes are a tough target when it comes to shooting as they're little and can zig-zag their way out. These birds are also amazing to eat. They have a great flavor and work well as appetizers.

The common snipe vs. Wilson's snipe difference is that Wilson's common snipe species has a narrower white trailing edge to its wings and eight pairs of tail plumage instead of the typical seven of the common snipe.

The breeding pair has a clutch of four eggs. Once the first two chicks hatch, the males take them from the nest and look after them. The last two young chicks to hatch are taken care of by the female.

How do the feet of the common snipe help it survive in its habitats?

The common snipe identification that helps it survive in its habitats is its populations' short feet, which help them walk on edgy marshes near the tropical habitat in winters during migration.

How do male common snipes attract a mate?

The males of this species put out their tail feathers that flutter like flags with the wind, making a shrill percussion sound. They try to increase the pitch of their call further to impress the females.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including brant facts or flycatcher facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable common snipe coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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