Fun Great Snipe Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Great Snipe Facts For Kids

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Do you like snipe birds? We have all the information about the great snipe (Gallinago media). The great snipe is the fastest migratory bird known to live in eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa. Their breeding ground consists of Europe and Russia. In the winter, these birds fly over parts of Asia to reach Africa. They cover a great distance in a very short time by flying non-stop for a long period of time and at a speedy rate. They are the only ones among the snipe species to not show any aerial courtship display during the breeding season. The birds are small to medium in size but have a magnificent look to them. They have a mottled body which helps them to camouflage. The wings of the bird are large and wide and a pale wing bar can be seen when they are flying. The population of these birds is Near Threatened due to many reasons like hunting or habitat loss because of deforestation, climate change, and agriculture.

Read on to know more great snipe bird facts, and if you like this article, then also check out the common snipe and Amsterdam albatross.

Fun Great Snipe Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, earthworms, and gastropods

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

4.9-9.2 oz (140-260 g)

How long are they?

10.6-11.4 in (27-29 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Mottled and white

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Marshes, Floodplains, Bogs, Peatlands, And Wet Meadows With Short Vegetation


Africa, Europe, And Russia









Great Snipe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a great snipe?

The great snipe is one of the snipe species of bird.

What class of animal does a great snipe belong to?

The great snipe belongs to the class Aves of animals.

How many great snipes are there in the world?

The global population range of great snipe birds falls somewhere between 80000-660000 mature individual birds. Most of them are known to live in Europe. The global population of these birds is threatened and declining in every part of their habitat.

Where does a great snipe live?

The geographical range of this small stocky bird changes throughout the year. The breeding ground of these birds happens to be around places in eastern Europe like Poland, Russia, Norway, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, and Estonia. During the winter, the bird migrates over central and southeastern Europe, and over central Asia. These birds can be seen flying over places like Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Ethiopia, or Cyprus. Finally, they reach Africa where they spend their winter.

What is a great snipe's habitat?

The preferred habitat of these birds is wetlands or moist areas, but they can still be seen living in dry habitats such as woodlands, in areas around marshes, or bogs. They mainly prefer places where there is enough density of greenery to hide their nests and an abundance of sub-surface invertebrates to feed on. They make their nest in peatlands, tussock meadows, floodplains, flooded marshlands, or wet meadows with short vegetation. The birds live in both elevated areas and lowlands.

Who do great snipes live with?

Great snipe birds usually stay alone or in small groups. They forage for food the same way as well. These small stocky birds can be seen in large groups only during the breeding season.

How long does a great snipe live?

Due to a lack of research, it is not known how long the great snipe (Gallinago media) lives for. However, the lifespan of snipe birds is three years on average.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the great snipe (Gallinago media) occurs around May to July. These birds are the only among the Scolopacidae family, genus Gallinago where males display do not show aerial courtship rituals. Instead, the males have perform courtship on the ground or lek where a large number of them gather. Around the time of dusk, the males start their rituals to attract the females. The males display with their tails spread, standing erect with chest puffed. After the copulation, the females do all the parenting work. She lays about three to five eggs in a secured nest. The incubation period is for about 22-24 days, after which the precocial chicks are born. It takes the chicks about 21-28 days after birth to be able to fly properly.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the great snipe (Gallinago media) according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is listed as Near Threatened. Their population is still decreasing due to habitat loss because of deforestation, climate change, and conversion to agriculture. The hunting of great snipes is also one of the reasons for the decreasing population of this species. There were reports of thousands of great snipes being killed within a time span of 15-20 days in Armenia. Many countries, like Latvia, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, and Estonia have taken action to preserve the birds, and many more conservation actions are still being planned and executed.

Great Snipe Fun Facts

What do great snipes look like?

Great snipes are small to medium-sized birds. Their appearance helps them to camouflage with their surroundings easily. The upper parts of the bird are mottled brown and the underparts have dark barred markings. They have a wide and large wing with a pale wing bar which can be seen when the bird is flying. They do not show sexual dimorphism other than their sizes as females are slightly larger than males.

The great snipe is the fastest migratory bird.

How cute are they?

They can be extremely cute with their mottled marked body and bulky shape. They are also not aggressive by nature which only adds to their charm.

How do they communicate?

The great snipe communicates by vocal and visual means. The males show courtship displays in order to attract mates. They usually are more of a silent species of bird but they do make some calls. The males make sounds like 'bibbelibibi' and 'klu-kee-kekeke' during courtship, standing erect with chest puffed, and the sound can be heard at a distance of 330 yd (300m).

How big is a great snipe?

Great snipes are about 10.6-11.4 in (27-29 cm) in length. The wingspan is about 18.5-19.7 in (47-50 cm). Females are comparatively larger than males. Crowned eagles are about three times bigger than great snipes. Crowned eagles can be 31.5-39 in (80-99 cm) in length.

How fast can a great snipe fly?

Great snipe birds are known to fly at a speedy rate and snipes are migratory birds. During migration, they can cover up to 4200 mi (6760 km) of distance non-stop at a speed of 60 mph (96.6 kph). They go the distance for wintering in Africa.

How much does a great snipe weigh?

The great snipe (Gallinago media) is a small to medium-sized bulky bird. They weigh about 4.9-9.2 oz (140-260 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males of this species are called cocks and the females of this species are called hens.

What would you call a baby great snipe?

Great snipe babies are called chicks, hatchlings, or nestlings.

What do they eat?

The great snipe (Gallinago media) is a small bird that is omnivorous in nature. They forage in small groups or alone at dusk or at night. They mainly feed on earthworms, but other than that they also eat gastropods, crickets, ants, flies, tipulids, caddisflies, and beetles. They search for food in shallow water or peck on the soil to find earthworms. They also eat seeds and other plant materials mainly from plants in marshes.

Are they dangerous?

The birds have not been reported to harm or be a danger to any humans. They are not aggressive in nature, either to humans or to others of their own species.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not suitable as pets as they are wild birds.  

Did you know...

The genus, Gallinago means 'woodcock' in New Latin. In Latin, the 'gallina' part means 'snipe' and the 'ago' means 'resembling'. While in Latin, the species name 'media' means 'intermediate'. The name is justified because the great snipe is in the middle in terms of size between the common snipe and woodcock.

Can snipes fly?

Snipe birds are great fliers. Great snipes are migratory birds and theycan fly long distances such as 4200 mi (6760 km) without stopping. They fly this distance at a phenomenal speed for the purpose of wintering in Africa.

Are snipes the same as woodcocks?

Seeing a woodcock and a snipe up close you might think that they are the same birds, but they are two different species. The snipe and the woodcock belong in the Scolopacidae family. Both the snipe and woodcock live near water, like marshes or near the sea, but they have quite a few differences among them such as smaller heads and more slender beaks of snipes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our great auk facts and purple sandpiper facts pages.

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

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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