Common Snipe

Scientific Name: Gallinago gallinago

Malay Name: Berkik Kipas Erasia

Chinese Name: 扇尾沙锥

Range: 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.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: faeroeensis, gallinago.

Local Subspecies: gallinago

Size: 25-27 cm

Identification: 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.