Friday, March 18, 2011

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Charadriiformes
Family : Scolopacidae
Genus : Gallinago
Species : G. delicata

Length : 25in (63cm)
Wingspan : 43in (109cm)

IUCn Status : Least Concern

Wilson's Snipe is a birds that can be found in a variety of marshy and watery areas. They are a migratory species, spending their summers breeding in the northern parts of North America, and then moving south, sometimes as far as South America, during the winter. They were once thought to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Common Snipe, but are now designated separately.

Male Wilson's Snipes create a strange, non-vocal sound to attract mates and defend territory. They beat their wings to flow air over their back tail feathers, creating a low whistling sound called "Winnowing." After finding a partner and mating, Wilson's Snipes have an interesting parenting strategy. They almost always lay four eggs, and the male takes the first two to care for, and leaves the female with the nest and the last two. They have no further contact.

Did you know that Snipes are the source of the word "Sniper?" These birds are notoriously difficult to hunt, so in order to shoot one you had to be an excellent sharpshooter.

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