Fun Latham's Snipe Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Oct 20, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Read some fun Latham's snipe facts here.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The Latham's snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) or Japanese snipe is a medium-sized, migratory snipe species with a long bill and tail of the wader family, Scolopacidae. This bird has brown, black, white, and buff colors on the body and mainly occupies the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Mathurin Jacques Bisson, a French zoologist, introduced the name Gallinago in 1760. The name is a derivation of the Latin term for a snipe or woodcock from 'gallina', meaning 'hen' with the suffix 'ago', meaning 'resembling'. There are around 17-18 species in this genus. The species in this genus are known to search for invertebrates in mud by 'a sewing machine' action using their long bills. The birds of the family Scolopacidae are called sandpipers. Some other species are called snipes, shorebirds, or curlews. Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, a French polymath, introduced this family in 1815. These birds mostly nest in open areas and also perform display flights to defend their territories. Most juvenile species are precocial.

If you enjoyed reading these fun facts about Latham's snipe, then make sure to check more facts about the hamerkop and palm warbler here at Kidadl.

Latham's Snipe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Latham's snipe?

The Latham's snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) or Japanese snipe is a medium-sized, migratory snipe with a long bill of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This omnivorous snipe belongs to the order Charadriiformes and phylum Chordata. This bird is territorial and performs in-flight displays. These birds roost in the day and feed in the evening, night, or early mornings. This bird is quiet and secretive during migration. They are well-camouflaged in their surroundings.

What class of animal does a Latham's snipe belong to?

The Latham's snipe belongs to the class of Aves of animals.

How many Latham's snipes are there in the world?

The exact population distribution data of Latham's snipe around the world is not known. The estimated world population by Birdlife International is 25,000-100,000 with 100-10,000 breeding pairs in northern Japan and 1,000-10,000 birds in migration in Russia. However, the populations of this species are decreasing due to habitat or environment loss according to Birdlife International.

Where does a Latham's snipe live?

The Latham's snipe breeds primarily in the Hokkaido habitats of north Japan. The Latham's snipe range map also includes the eastern Russian mainland, Honshu, and throughout history, these birds have had a population distribution in the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. As this species is migratory, this bird moves in flocks during the non-breeding season to south-eastern Australia. There are also records of migration to the Philippines, New Guinea, Tasmania, and Taiwan, and also in New Zealand. There are no records of this species in habitats around Borneo.

What is a Latham's snipe's habitat?

The Latham's snipe range of habitat includes rough pastures, grasslands, alpine moorlands, cultivated areas, young tree plantation, and dense vegetation as their breeding grounds. Their non-breeding habitat is mostly in Australian near shallow freshwater wetlands that have shallow water or bare mud for feeding. They also occur near environments with dense vegetation with cover. They roost in habitats with weeds and grass near water sources. This is a differentiating feature of this bird species from other shorebird species.

Who do Latham's snipes live with?

The Latham's snipe lives in flocks during migration and in pairs when this bird breeds. This bird can also be found on their own.

How long does a Latham's snipe live?

The lifespan of Latham's snipe is around four to five years, according to Birdlife International. However, the average lifespan of snipe birds is around 5-10 years.

How do they reproduce?

This species of snipe breeds near a dry ground habitat like forest clearings and grassy hillsides in Japan and the East Asian mainland from August to February. During the breeding season, the display flights of males include rising in the air, then diving to the ground. These birds nest on the ground with cover from vegetation and the Latham's snipe female lays eggs and incubates them in this shallow depression lined with leaves and grasses. She lays around four Latham's snipe eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Latham's snipe birds is listed as Least Concern. These birds were previously hunted as game birds and they are now protected. Under South Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972, these birds are listed as rare. This bird species also face threats from habitat destruction and degradation. They have also been listed under the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement and Environment Protection and Conservation Act, 1999. There are also efforts being made to protect and conserve the natural environment of these birds. The Latham's snipe's migration habits are being monitored by the joint project of Japan and Australia.

Latham's Snipe Fun Facts

What does Latham's snipe look like?

These medium-sized birds have a vaguely patterned brown, black, white, and buff plumage colors but mainly have brown feathers. However, they cannot be easily distinguished from pin-tailed snipes and Swinhoe's snipe. They have a long bill and tail but their wings project past their tail when folded. They have short legs and round heads. They have dark brown cheek and eye stripe, and crown.

Latham's Snipe

* Please note that this is an image of a common snipe. If you have an image of a Latham's snipe please let us know at

How cute are they?

These birds with long bills and short bodies are considered cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate using vocals, visuals, and body language. The Latham's snipe call sounds like a 'crek' and when they dive. During their display flights, they produce a 'goa-goa-goa' sound with their tail. When startled, they produce a harsh 'krak'.

How big is a Latham's snipe?

These birds measure up to 11.4-12.9 in (29-33 cm) in length. The Latham's snipe wingspan is 19.6-21.2 in (50-54 cm). They are almost twice the size of least sandpipers. This species is slightly larger than their relatives, the pintail snipe (G. stenura) or pin-tailed snipe and Swinhoe's snipe (G. megala).

How fast can a Latham's snipe fly?

The exact flight speed of this bird is not known, but this species has a fast flight. They are also good fliers because they migrate every year.

How much does a Latham's snipe weigh?

The weight of these birds is around 0.33-0.5 lb (150-230 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to Latham's snipe male and female birds.

What would you call a baby Latham's snipe?

There is no specific name given to a Latham's snipe baby. They are usually referred to as chicks or juveniles.

What do they eat?

The Latham's snipe diet is omnivorous. They feed on plant materials and seeds. They also feed on insects like flies and beetles, spiders, worms, and sometimes centipedes, mollusks, and isopods. They search for their food in the mud using their bills in a sewing machine-like action.

Are they dangerous?

No, they pose no threat to human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds would not make good pets.

Did you know...

The Swinhoe's snipe (G. megala) is called 'cho suekyung' in South Korea. The Swinhoe's snipe also occupies Mongolia, Siberia, India, China, New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Australia, and sometimes Japan.

The pin-tailed snipe's pin-like outer feathers on the tail tail produce whistling noises. This is how this bird got its name. The pin-tailed snipe also produces a loud repetitive 'tcheka' song that rises into a crescendo of buzzing and fizzing sounds.

Common snipes are found around tundra, bogs, wet meadows, and marshes.

There were some fossils collected of undescribed Gallinago birds resembling great snipes belonging to the Late Miocene or Early Pliocene periods.

Who are Latham's snipes named after?

The Latham's snipe name is an honorary mention of the English scientific illustrator and ornithologist, John Latham. However, he did not illustrate this bird.

Do Latham's snipes migrate?

Yes, these birds do migrate. In warmer months, they move to Australia. They stop at few staging areas while directly flying between Japan and Australia. Around August to November, they start the migration process and in September they reach Australia. By the end of February they leave southeast regions and fly back towards the north along the coast.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these northern gannet facts and Sarus crane facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable Latham's snipe coloring pages.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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