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Latham's Snipe

Latham's Snipe
Photographed byTrevor Bullock on Mon 22nd Jan, 2018 and uploaded by Rob Parker on Sun 30th Sep, 2018 .
CommentLatham’s Snipe: Score 87%
Scientific Name: Gallinago hardwickii
Summer BG: N Japan (Hokkaido & Honshu), Kuril Is., Sakhalin Is.
Overall Size: 24 - 41cm
Conservation Status (BWL): Least concern

This species was misidentified as Asian Dowitcher x1

Snipes are tough to identify without location and tail feather details. That information was not provided in this Challenge. Therefore, the following answers were accepted: Latham’s Snipe, Swinhoe’s Snipe or Pin-tailed Snipe.

Below is a guide for identifying Snipes:

Latham’s Snipe - The largest of the three (3) species. Usually 18 of fewer tail feathers with outer few barred. Found in NE QLD, through to NSW, VIC, TAS & South-east SA - Kangaroo Island and Eyre Peninsula and Ooldea. Mostly sub-coastal but substantial inland movement through Murray-Darling region. Also PNG, Lord Howe Island, vagrant to Macquarie Island.

Swinhoe’s Snipe - number of tail feathers varied - 18 to 28 with outer six (6) on each side narrow. Narrower than Latham’s but broader than Pin-tailed. Found in northern Australia from N QLD to Pilbara, WA.

Pin-tailed Snipe - usually 26 tail feathers with outer six (6) to eight (8) pairs fine and pin-like. Broad central feathers. Distribution in Australia is not well understood due to to ID difficulties but there are confirmed records in NSW, south-west WA, Pilbara and the Top End. This species has also been reported on the Cocos-Keeling Islands as well as Christmas Island.

The Latham’s Snipe is distinguishable from the Asian Dowitcher by the bill base colour. The Asian Dowitcher has a pink base, whereas the Latham’s Snipe has a yellow base.

Some other identifying features for the Latham’s Snipe are:

- Feet do not extend beyond tail tip in flight (Swinhoe’s half of feet trail and Pin-tailed almost all of feet trail).

- Irregular scallops on breast.

- Tail longer than folded wing (same in Swinhoe’s Snipe, but Pin-tailed Snipe folds at equal length to tail).

- Rufous tail, barred white on outer feathers (Swinhoe’s has a thick, white band on tail, Pin-tailed has a thick band).

- Olive-grey legs (Swinhoe’s has olive-yellow legs, Pin-tailed grey-green to brownish-green).
LocationJerrabomberra Wetlands (Australian Capital Territory)
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