1052. Double Snipe.
Gallinago major (Gmel.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 661 (1788) ; (Naum.), viii. p. 291, Taf. 208 ; (Hewitson), ii. p. 351, pl. xcvii. ; (Gould), B. of E iv. pl. 320 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 78 ; Dresser, vii. p. 631 pl. 541 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiv. p. 626 ; Saunders, p. 571 Lilford, v. p. 59, pl. 25 ; Poynting, p. 109, pl. 24.
Grande Becassine, French ; Narseja grande, Portug. ; Agachadiza-real, Span. ; Croccolone, Ital. ; Grosse Sumpfschnepfe, Doppelschnepfe, German ; Poelsnip, Dutch ; Tredoekker, Dan. ; Dobbelt-Bekkasin, Norweg. ; Dubbel Beckasin, Swed. ; Heina-kurppa, Finn. ; Dupel, Leshenok, Russ.
Male ad. (Denmark). Forehead and sides of head buffy white dotted with blackish brown ; centre of crown and nape black with a central pale buff streak : upper parts blackish brown variegated with creamy buff and rufous ; a broad stripe on each side of the back creamy buff ; quills blackish brown ; wing-coverts tipped with dirty white ; middle tail-feathers blackish at base, then rufous variegated with black, the rest broadly tipped with white, the three outermost half white ; chin, neck, and throat buff, the two last marked with blackish brown ; under parts white closely barred with blackish brown, the breast and flanks tinged with buff ; bill dull flesh-coloured at the base darkening to black towards the end ; legs dull flesh-colour, the joints plumbeous ; iris dark brown. Culmen 2.4, wing 5.5, tail 2.5, tarsus 1.4 inch. Sexes alike. The young have the upper parts more rufous, the wings less marked with white, and the under parts more obscurely marked.
Hab. Northern Europe up to about 69° N. lat. in Norway, 65° in Sweden and Russia, but not above 62° in Finland ; wintering in Southern Europe, and Africa as far south as the Cape Colony ; Asia east to the Yenesei valley and Persia ; a frequent visitor to Great Britain.
Like the Woodcock the present species is chiefly nocturnal in its habits, and frequents swampy damp localities. It is always seen singly, never in wisps like the Common Snipe, and its flight is heavier and more direct. It may always be distinguished from that species by its shorter bill and legs, and by the large amount of white on the tail. In the spring they frequent regular “drumming” places, like some of the Grouse, and fight for the possession of the females. Its note bipbip, bipbiperere, biperere, may then be heard at some distance if the night is still. Its food consists of worms, small slugs, insects, and larvae, and it feeds chiefly at night. Its nest is a mere depression in the ground, sparingly lined with a few grass straws, and the eggs are usually deposited in June. These are pale olive-grey or olivaceous stone-buff with purplish grey underlying shell-markings, and bold blackish brown surface spots and blotches, and measure about 1.75 by 1.24.
1052. Gallinago major
1052. Double Snipe.