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Austrailan Painted-snipe

The Australian Painted-snipe (Rostratula australis) is a species of wading bird native to Australia, though its distribution is scattered and any particular area is unpredictable. It was previously very common in the Riverina. Its habitat includes shallow, freshwater wetlands with thick cover of low vegetation. When conditions becomes unsuitable, it will wander elsewhere. The species has significantly declined during the 20th century and is now rare throughout its range. Wetland drainage, river salinization, and grazing livestock are among the main causes of its decline. The total estimated population is between a few hundred and a few thousand individuals. It is listed as Vulnerable in Australia.

The Australian Painted-snipe is a medium sized bird with a long bill. The head and neck of the female is chocolate brown. The male has a dark gray upper breast with a beige median stripe on the crown. The center of the hind neck in both sexes are reddish-brown fading to dark, barred gray on the back. There is a cream comma-shaped mark around the eye. The upper wing is gray. The upper wing of the male has beige colored spots. The lower breast and underbelly is white. The adult is 9.5 to 11.75 inches in length with a wingspan of 19.75 to 21.25 inches. The weight is approximately 4.5 ounces. Males are generally smaller than females. The young are similar to the adult male.

The diet of the Australian Painted-snipe includes worms, mollusks, insects and crustaceans. Seeds and other vegetation may also be taken. Breeding occurs around temporary flooded wetlands, with low cover for shelter, and shallow water and mudflats for feeding. The nest is in a ground scrape or on a mound in the water on small islands. The nest is lined with grass, leaves and twigs. The female lays 3 to 4 cream colored eggs marked with black streaks. The eggs hatch after 15 to 16 days. The young are precocial (able to move freely at birth) and soon leave the nest.

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Austrailan Painted-snipe


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