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Jack Snipe

The Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) is a species of wading bird found in northern Europe and northern Russia. They are migratory and winter in Great Britain, Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal Europe, Africa, and India. Its breeding habitat is marshes, bogs, tundra, and wet meadows with short vegetation. It is well camouflaged in its habitat and very hard to spot.

The adult is smaller than the Common Snipe and has a shorter bill. The body is mottled brown on top and pale underneath. It has a dark stripe through the eye. The wings are pointed and narrow, and the yellow back stripes are visible in flight. The bird gives an almost hypnotic look when it is seen displaying a distinctive bobbing movement. The head pattern shows two lateral pale crown-stripes which are separated from the eyebrow by an area of darker plumage.

The Jack Snipe can be secretive in its winter habitat and is often hard to spot. As a result of this, birdwatchers have developed a specialized technique for finding this bird. This involves walking through its marshy habitat until a bird is disturbed and flies up. The Jack Snipe will squat down and not flush from cover until the intruder is within a few feet of the bird. They it flies a short distance before dropping back into vegetation.

The male performs an aerial display during courtship, and sounds like a horse galloping. In the winter it is silent. The nest is in a well-hidden location and the female lays 3 to 4 eggs. The Jack Snipe forages in soft mud, probing or picking food up on sight. They eat insects and earthworms, and also plant matter.

The Jack Snipe is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

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Jack Snipe


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