188. Gallinago caelestis.
THE FANTAIL or COMMON SNIPE.
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.