Wilson's Snipe: Medium sandpiper, brown and black mottled upperparts, buff stripes on back. White underparts, dark bars on sides, flanks. Heavily streaked head, neck, breast. Yellow-green legs, feet. Formerly considered a subspecies of the Common Snipe, which has 14 tail feathers to the Wilson's 16.
Range and Habitat
Wilson's Snipe: Breeds in northern U.S. and Canada. Spends winters as far south as northern South America. Prefers freshwater marshes and swamps, frequents open landscapes.
The Wilson’s Snipe is an upland bird and is one of the few shorebirds that can still be hunted legally.
An elusive bird difficult to hunt, the snipe led to the use of the word sniper in terms of a sharpshooter in the early 19th century.
The male makes a sound (non-vocal) called winnowing that is used in courtship displays and in territory defense. Also called drumming or bleating, the sound is created in flight by vibrating outer tail feathers that are spread wide while the bird is diving.
A group of snipes has many collective nouns, including a "leash", "walk", "whisper", "winnowing", and "volley" of snipes.
The Wilson's Snipe has a signigicant range reaching up to roughly 10 million square kilometers. This bird breeds across Alaska and Canada as well as into California, Colorado, Wisconsin, northern Ohio, and southern Maine. It spends winters in southern Canada and all of the way south into Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. This species is normally found in wetlands, bogs, fens, swamps and in locations along the edges of wet fields and ditches and streams. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 27 million individual birds. Currently, it is not believed that the population trends for this species will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the Wilson's Snipe have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.