1053. Single Snipe.
Gallinago coelestis (Frenzel), Beschr. Vog. und Eier Wittenb. p. 58, . (1801) ; Dresser, vii. p. 641, pls. 542, 543 ; Saunders, p. 573 ; Poynting, p. 115, pl. 25 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 286 ; Scolopax gallinago, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 244 ; Naum. viii. p. 310, Taf. 209 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 353, pl. xcviii. ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 321, fig. 2 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 346 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiv. p. 633 ; Lilford, v. p. 63, pl. 26 ; (Ridgway), p. 150 ; G. scolopacina, Bp. Comp. List. p. 52 (1838) ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 960 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 79 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 478 ; G. sabinii (Vigors), Trans. Linn. Soc. xiv. p. 557 (1825) ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 321, fig. 1 ; Lilford, v. p. 64, pl. 27 ; Poynting, p. 115, pl. 25.
Chevre volante, French ; Narseja ordinaria, Portug. ; Aga-chadiza, Span. ; Beccacino reale, Ital. ; Moorschnepfe, German ; Watersnip, Dutch ; Myrispita, Icel. ; Dobbelt Bekkasin, Dan. ; Enkelt Bekkasin, Norweg. ; Enkelbeckasin, Swed. ; Makastak, Lapp. ; Taivan-vuohi, Taivan-jaari, Finn. ; Bekass, Barachek, Russ. ; Choseh, Arab. ; Boumonkar, Moor. ; Chaha, Bharak, Hindu. ; Ji-shigi, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Crown blackish brown with a central and two lateral buff stripes ; upper parts black varied with rufous and warm buff, the last forming long lines on each side of the back ; quills blackish, the first margined and the wing-coverts tipped and slightly barred with dull white ; middle tail-feathers black tipped with rufous marbled and barred with black, the rest rufous buff barred with blackish ; lores blackish ; neck, throat, and upper breast buffy white varied with blackish ; flanks and axillaries white barred with blackish ; bill pale reddish brown at the base, otherwise dark brown ; legs pale greenish ; iris dark brown. Culmen 2.8, wing 5.1, tail 2.4, tarsus 1.35. Female similar but a trifle larger. The young bird is duller in colour, and is more rufous, especially on the breast and neck.
Sabine’s Snipe (G. sabinii) is merely a melanite form.
Hab. Europe generally, north to about 69° N. lat. ; Iceland. Greenland ; Madeira, Canaries, and Azores ; North Africa and Southern Europe in winter ; Asia north to Kamchatka, east to Japan, south in winter to India, China, and as far south as Batchian ; of accidental occurrence in Bermuda.
Inhabits marshes and damp localities, and is as a rule shy and wary. Though not strictly nocturnal it is crepuscular, feeding in the early morning and late evening, its food con¬sisting chiefly of worms, in search of which it probes with its bill, the terminal portion of which is soft and sensitive. Its note is a double cluck, tjick-tjuck, tjick-tjuck, and in the spring it produces, when on the wing, a peculiar drumming or bleating sound, caused by the stiff tail feathers as the bird drops swiftly through the air with extended tail. The nest is a mere depression in the ground, scantily lined with a few grass- bents, and the eggs, 4 in number, which are usually deposited in the latter part of April, vary in ground-colour from stone-greenish to greenish buff, with pale purplish grey underlying shell-markings, and umber-brown surface spots and blotches, and measure about 1.61 by 1.7. As a rule they are more heavily blotched at the larger end.
In North America the present species is replaced by a closely allied form, Gallinago delicata (Ord), differing in having 16 tail-feathers instead of 14 as in G. coelestis, the under wing-coverts and axillaries much more broadly barred with dull slate, the bill shorter, usually below 2.75, and the tarsus shorter. This form is said, on somewhat doubtful evidence, to have occurred in Britain.
1053. Gallinago cAelestis
1053. Single Snipe.