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Latham's Snipe

Latham's Snipe (Image ID 32047)
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)
PBIG starsImages are assessed for the Premier Bird Images Gallery (PBIG) by a panel of three judges, who each award a score of up to 15 points to each image.  The PBIG star rating for the image is obtained from these scores as follows:
  • 5-star: the two highest scores total 29 or 30
  • 4-star: the two highest scores total 28
  • 3-star: the two highest scores total 27
  • 2-star: the two highest scores total 26, or there is one score of 14 or 15
  • 1-star: there is one score of 13
Images with 4 or 5 star ratings are in the Premier Bird Images gallery. Not all images have been assessed by the PBIG judging panel.  For details, see About Us - Our Galleries - Premier Bird Images Gallery.
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