My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata

 

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata) is a small, stocky shorebird. This species was considered to be a subspecies of the common snipe (G. gallinago) until 2003 when it was given its own species status, though not all authorities recognized this immediately. Wilson’s snipe differs from the latter species in having a narrower white trailing edge to the wings, and eight pairs of tail feathers instead of the typical seven of the common snipe. Its common name commemorates the American ornithologist Alexander Wilson.

Adults are 23–28 cm (9.1–11.0 in) in length with a 39–45 cm (15–18 in) wingspan. They have short greenish-grey legs and a very long straight dark bill. The body is mottled brown on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye, with light stripes above and below it. The wings are pointed.

They breed in marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows in Canada and the northern United States. They are year-round residents on the U.S. Pacific coast. The eastern population migrates to the southern United States and to northern South America.

They forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight and eating insects, earthworms, and plant material. Well-camouflaged, they are usually shy and conceal themselves close to ground vegetation, flushing only when approached closely. They fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags to confuse predators.

The male performs “winnowing” display during courtship, flying high in circles and then taking shallow dives to produce a distinctive sound. They have been observed “winnowing” throughout the day and long into the night. The “winnowing” sound is similar to the call of a boreal owl. They nest in a well-hidden location on the ground.

On to my photos:

These photos were taken in September of 2015, at the Muskegon County wastewater facility in one of the rapid filtration cells.

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata)

 

This is number 186 in my photo life list, only 164 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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18 responses

  1. wonderful captures~

    February 18, 2016 at 12:39 am

    • Thank you very much Cindy!

      February 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

  2. Excellent pictures of an interesting bird, what a beak it has.

    February 18, 2016 at 3:25 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! I’m glad that I don’t have a nose like the beak of a snipe, must be hard on the neck muscles.

      February 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm

  3. I am always having trouble differentiating this bird from other similar ones, like the Willet. Your photos will help me identify which birds I saw at the EBF refuge in New Jersey.

    February 18, 2016 at 9:11 am

    • Thank you very much! Good photos and several online field guides help me ID the birds, it’s the only way that I can. It’s all about the details, I just looked up wallets, and their eyes are farther forward in the head, their legs are longer, and bill is shorter.

      February 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm

  4. Nice shots! It looks like these two let you get close but that could just be the zoom talking.

    February 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! I did get close to them, after waiting them out after they hid in the clump of reeds for a while when I first spotted them.

      February 18, 2016 at 11:25 pm

  5. Who was Wilson?

    February 18, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    • Its common name commemorates the American ornithologist Alexander Wilson who was a Scottish-American poet, ornithologist, naturalist, and illustrator. Identified by George Ord as the “Father of American Ornithology,” Wilson is now regarded as the greatest American ornithologist before Audubon.

      February 18, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      • Thank you.

        February 19, 2016 at 4:39 pm

  6. Beautiful clear shots.

    February 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      February 19, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      • 🙂

        February 20, 2016 at 5:36 pm

  7. Your photos are beautiful! I love shorebirds, especially snipe. Great bird to add to your list eh? If you feel like checking out another bird nerd’s adventures, drop on by. http://www.inkfromthequill.com

    February 21, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’ll check out the link.

      February 21, 2016 at 5:33 pm

  8. Hi Jerry, back from vacation and catching up with you. Yes, that is the bird I saw on the farm. Great photo!

    February 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    • Thank you very much Lavinia, glad that I could help.

      February 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm