188. Gallinago caelestis

188. Gallinago caelestis.


Caelestis—pertaining to or coming from heaven, caelum. The Snipe was called by the older authors Capella caelestis, from its imitating the voice of a goat (capella) in its curious "drumming" sound during the breeding season, as he swoops down with tail outspread. Chaha, N. W. P.; Bharka, Nepal; Chegga, Lower Bengal; Cheryga, Assam; Chek lonbli, Manipur; Tibud, Ratnagiri; Oolan, S. India; Kadakecho, Orissa; Ketbatta, Ceylon; Pashalek, Afghanistan; Mahalamche, Yarkand.

Male 9" to 11 1/3"; 3 3/4 to 5 oz. Female 9" to 12 1/2"; 3 to 5 1/2 oz. Legs green-drab. Bill 2 3/4", red-brown. Back velvet-black, crossed chestnut with streaks of yellow. Lower wing-coverts faintly barred. Tail of fourteen feathers of same width. Three outer tail-feathers white, tinged rufous, with dusky spots and bars. Outer web of first primary white. Axillaries often pure white. Eminently gregarious. Calls " chiswick " on rising as he zigzags up, preparatory to getting straight away. Known formerly as the " Jill" Snipe. Breeds in Europe, C. and N. Asia, and winters in S. Europe, N. Africa, and S. Asia. Found in Calcutta markets in August. Four eggs (1.6 x 1.1), greenish, double-spotted red-brown. (J. 871. B. 1484. H. & M. iii. 359.)

Also with tail of sixteen feathers:—

G. major. 11 1/2". With three outer tail-feathers white, without spots or bars. Wing-coverts with white tips. Remiges twenty-five. The Great Snipe. From Europe and N. Asia, wintering in Mediterranean countries and Africa.

G. nigripennis. 11". Similar to G. major, but three outer tail-feathers have obsolete spots. Confined to Africa.

Also with tail of sixteen feathers and axillaries regularly barred:—

G. delicata. 10 3/4" Wilson's Snipe. Similar to G. coelestis, but with outer tail-feather less than 1/3" in breadth and outer secondaries slightly extended beyond primaries. From N. America, and wintering in Bermudas, W. Indies, and S. America.

G. frenata. 10". Resembling G. delicata, but outer tail-feather is less than 1/5" in breadth, and the outer secondaries are strongly extended beyond primaries. Confined to S. America.

G. andina. 7 1/2" to 8 1/3". Similar to G. frenata. From Peru.

G. nobilis. 11 1/2". Of same group as G. delicata, but with larger feet and toes and a bill 3 3/4" long. From N. of S. America.

G. macrodactyla. 13". Of same group as G. caelestis and G. delicata. Bill 3 7/10 From Madagascar and Mauritius.

G. paraguayae. 10 1/2". Similar to G. delicata, but with outer tail-feathers narrower and having five distinct bars. Outer secondaries not exceeding the longest primary coverts in length. From S. America.

G. australis. 11 1/2". Similar to G. caelestis, but with tail of eighteen feathers, the two outer ones attenuated. Breeding in Japan, and wintering iu Australia and Tasmania.

Game, Shore And Water Birds Of India
Le Messurier, Augustus. Game, Shore, and Water Birds of India Fourth Edition, 1904.
Title in Book: 
188. Gallinago caelestis
Book Author: 
A Le Messurier
Page No: 
Common name: 
Fantail Or Common Snipe
Common Snipe
Gallinago gallinago
4th ed.

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