[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Gallinago stenura | [UK] Pintail Snipe | [FR] Bécassine à queue pointue | [DE] Spiessbekassine | [ES] Agachadiza Colirrara | [IT] Beccacino strenuo | [NL] Stekelstaartsnip

Stekelstaartsnip determination

No film available

This 25-27 cm long bird is similar to the longer-billed and longer-tailed Common Snipe. Adults have short greenish-grey legs and a long straight dark bill. The body is mottled brown on top, with cream lines down their back. They are pale underneath with a streaked buff breast and white belly. They have a dark stripe through the eye, with light stripes above and below it. Sexes are similar, and immatures differ only in minor plumage details.

It breeds in Arctic and boreal wetlands up to 2,300 m above sea-level on damp meadows along river valleys in grassy and mossy swamps, swampy taiga forest sphagnum bogs and shrub tundra with patches of dwarf birch Betula nana. In its wintering range the species inhabits a wider variety of wetland habitats including flooded paddy-fields, wet grasslands, seepage swamps and marshland, often foraging on the muddy shorelines of swamps and along streams.

Gallinago stenura has a predominantly Asian breeding distribution, which just extends into Europe in northern Russia. Its European breeding population is small (as few as 1,000 pairs), but was broadly stable between 1970-1990. No trend data were available for 1990-2000, but there is no evidence to suggest that the species declined. Although the size of the European population could render it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, it is marginal to a much larger non-European population. Consequently, the species is provisionally evaluated as Secure. This species is fully migratory and travels over land on a broad front between its breeding and wintering grounds. It breeds from late-May to August2 after which it migrates in small flocks of 5-10 individuals. The species also overwinters in small groups.

Its diet consists of molluscs, adult and larval insects, earthworms and occasionally crustaceans, seeds and other plant matter.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 50,000-2,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Its breeding habitat is damp marshes and tundra in Arctic and boreal Russia. Birds in their non-breeding range use a variety of wetlands, often with Common Snipe, but may be found also in drier habitats than their relative. They nest in a well-hidden location on the ground. May-Jun. Presumably monogamous. Dazzling communal aerial display, in which flock of up to 15 males suddenly plunges sideways, or each male glides and falls downwares, turning from side to side, whilst uttering frequent creis and producing sounds with modified tail feathers. Nest is shallow depression lined with vegetation, usually well concealed by dense cover. 4 eggs, single brood, incubation 20 days. Chick yellowish brown or dark brown with white or pale buff-tipped down.

Migratory. Moves overland in broad front; crosses Pakistan and Iran, C Asia, Mongolia, Tibet, N China, NE Bo Hai (Gulf of Chihli), Hong Kong and Taiwan; birds in W breeding range cross Himalaya to India; common on passage in Borneo (spring and autumn); uncommonly recorded in Korea. Arrives in winter quarters late Aug to Oct, and remains till Mar to early May. Many birds winter in S & NE Indian Subcontinent. Probably also some movement over Middle East and across Indian Ocean towards E Africa (Kenya), where species occurs in small numbers at least in some years; recently reported from Benin and Gabon. Migrates in small flocks of 5-10 birds.