Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

The North American snipe, Gallinago gallinago delicata was elevated to full species status by the American Ornithologist’s Union in 2002. Prior to this split Snipe’s were rarely identified to subspecies level in the Pribilofs. All specimens taken on Saint Paul have proved to belong to the true “Common Snipe”, but sight records of Wilson’s Snipe have occurred every year since 2001. Snipes are regular in spring and rare in fall to the Pribilofs, and in general one can expect Common Snipe during periods of west winds, and Wilson’s Snipe during east or southeast winds. As it is often exceedingly difficult to spot Snipe around the overgrown grasses that fringe our ponds the identification of these two species usually must be done in flight. Look for the pale bars in the underwings, and broad white trailing edge to the secondaries for Common Snipe. Wilson’s Snipe have dark underwings and a narrow white trailing secondary edge. Both species of snipe are likely in marshy areas, such as Antone Slough, Pumphouse Lake, Rocky Lake, Little Polovina Lake and Webster Lake.