Common Snipe

Scientific Name: Gallinago gallinago
Malay Name: Berkik Kipas Erasia
Chinese Name: 扇尾沙锥

Breeds across the Palearctic from central Europe to east Siberia, winters to western Europe, tropical Africa, the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, as well as southeast Asia.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: faeroeensis, gallinago.

Local Subspecies: gallinago

Size: 25-27 cm

The easiest to identify of the three snipes that winter locally; several distinctive features can be used to reliably tell this species apart from both Pin-tailed and Swinhoe's. Structurally, Common is distinctly sleeker, smaller-headed, and longer-billed than both those species; in plumage, is obviously more "contrasty", especially evident on the facial feathers (loral line especially darker and more prominent in Common). Most easily distinguished in flight, where broad white trailing-edge to secondaries and uneven markings on underwing (unlike Pin-tailed and Swinhoe's, which have evenly-barred underwing patterns) separate this species.

Similar looking species: Pin-tailed Snipe, Swinhoe's Snipe

Habitat: Damp grasslands with areas of tall grass and muddy freshwater marshes.

Behaviour/Ecology: Alarm call, normally heard when flushed, is a sharp "skaap"; its zigzag flight when flushed can also be used, in combination with other features, to separate this species from the other snipes found locally.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Location: Kranji Marshes, Marina East, and any other area with suitable habitat.

Featured articles:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

BirdLife International. (2019). Gallinago gallinago. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Accessed on 1 January 2023
Leader, P. J., & Carey, G. J. (2003). Identification of Pintail Snipe and Swinhoe’s Snipe. British Birds, 96, 178–198.
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.