Swinhoe’s Snipe, Gallinago megala, also known as Forest Snipe or Chinese Snipe, is a medium-sized (length 27-29 cm, wingspan 38-44 cm, weight 120 gm), long-billed, migratory wader.
Identifiable as a Gallinago snipe by its cryptically-patterned black, brown, buff and white plumage, but not easily distinguished from Latham’s and Pin-tailed Snipe in the field.
Breeds mainly in central and southern Siberia and Mongolia. Entire population migrates and spends non-breeding season principally in eastern and southern India, Sri Lanka, south-eastern China, South-East Asia and New Guinea. Recorded on migration in eastern China, and occasionally Japan. Records in Australia mainly from the Top End of the Northern Territory and from north-western Western Australia.
Breeding habitat: forest glades and meadows. Non-breeding habitat: shallow freshwater wetlands of various kinds including paddy fields and sewage farms, with bare mud or shallow water for feeding, with nearby vegetation cover.
Mainly small invertebrates including earthworms, mollusks and insects.
Display flights and “drumming” by the males.
Because of wide range and no evidence of significant population decline, the species is assessed as being of Least Concern.
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