(Common) Snipe

(Common) Snipe

(Common) Snipe - Gallinago gallinago

Small, dumpy bird with very long bill and mimetic colouring. The only way to spot it on the ground is to wait inside a hide in a specially equipped area for it to turn up.

Otherwise you can get very near but fail to see it, except at the last moment when it takes off in a flash, first in vertical flight, then undulating and curiously askance to the direction the bird is heading for. But it leaves behind the memory of a……kiss. Yes, a kiss - because this is just the strange noise the snipe emits.

Typical species of wet meadows, marshes and lagoons, the Snipe needs shallow waters and low emergent vegetation.

Like many Scolopacidae (sub-family of the Charadriidae, i.e. the group to which most European Waders belong ), the bill of the Snipe is highly sensitive at the tip, which it uses to probe the muddy soil seeking out any invertebrates living there.

In the north European nesting grounds the male performs a characteristic nuptial flight, throwing himself into almost vertical dives from remarkable heights and holding his outer tail feathers open like a fan, so producing a loud vibrating noise.

It is the most common over-wintering wader in Italy, and the favourite target of hunters.