Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura

On 26th August 2003 I observed two snipes along the Philipsdam (51.41N 4.05E) in the Rhine-Meuse delta in the SW Netherlands. One, see pic.1, was obviously a Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago. The other, see pic.'s 2 and 3, a strange looking medium-sized and short-tailed individual with broad black markings on the sides of breast and flanks, while the black crown stripes joined over the base of the bill. So, as far as I am aware, the black crown-stripes of Common Snipe do not meet over the base of the bill. A check of the extensive collection of snipes now (july 2008) in Naturalis the National Museum for Natural History of The Netherlands has confirmed this. While I was taking pictures, the birds flew off and I was unable to see any details of the birds in flight. All I could come up with, is that this bird was a Swinhoe's Snipe Gallinago megala, a species I have no experience with. Swinhoe's Snipe has recently been recorded for the first time in Europe (Finland, 2008). This case has renewed our interest in the species and we therefore checked the collection of Swinhoe's and Pin-tailed snipe in Naturalis. It turned out that the snipe with a tail as short as in my bird is the Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura which can have strongly barred underparts as well (see pictures and page 163 in Collins Bird Guide c 1999,London). Like Swinhoe's Snipe, Pin-tailed Snipe breeds in Siberia, close enough to Europe to be able to reach it in one flight under favourable meteorological circumstances. The study has convinced me that the 2003 bird is in fact a Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura. For comparison, I have added some pictures of Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago which I took in the Port of Rotterdam.



Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura 10121926 W.Java, Naturalis

Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura underside. Java, Naturalis

Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura upperparts. Java, Naturalis
all pictures copyright -norman deans van swelm-       18 Nov 2021


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