Eurasian snipe Gallinago gallinago, photographed by J. C. Schou.

Belongs within: Scolopacidae.

Gallinago, the snipes, are stocky, straight-billed wading birds. They are found in most parts of the world though only as non-breeding migrants in Australia. Species are found in freshwater habitats such as marshes and riverbanks. The common snipe G. gallinago breeds across the Palaearctic with many populations migrating southwards to southern Asia and Africa.

Characters (from Ridgway 1887): Top of head with longitudinal stripes. Ears situated directly under eyes; tip of upper mandible thickened, with cutting edges brought close together. Plumage not varying between breeding and non-breeding seasons. Lower part of thighs naked; back of tarsus with continuous row of transverse scutellae.

<==Gallinago Brisson 1760 [incl. Capella Frenzel 1801, Ditelmatias Mathews 1913; Gallinaginae, Gallinagininae]CC10
    |--+--G. media (Latham 1787)BKB15, M02 [=Scolopax mediaM02, Capella mediaM02]
    |  `--+--G. megala Swinhoe 1861BKB15, CC10 [incl. G. australis oweni Mathews 1912WS48]
    |     `--G. stenuraBKB15
    `--+--*G. gallinago (Linnaeus 1758)CC10, BKB15, ME04 (see below for synonymy)
       `--+--G. nigripennisBKB15
          `--+--G. delicata (Ord 1825)BKB15, S05 (see below for synonymy)
             `--G. paraguaiaeBKB15
Gallinago incertae sedis:
  G. andinaJT12
  G. caelestisS05
  G. hardwickii (Gray 1831)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
  G. imperialisJT12
  G. jamesoniJT12
  G. macrodactylaJT12
  G. nemoricolaJT12
  G. nobilisJT12
  G. solitariaJT12
    |--G. s. solitariaVP89
    `--G. s. japonicaVP89
  G. stricklandiiJT12
  G. undulataJT12 [=Capella undulataMS55]
    |--G. u. undulataMS55
    `--‘Capella’ u. giganteaMS55
  G. veterior Jánossy 1979 [=Capella veterior]M02

Gallinago delicata (Ord 1825)BKB15, S05 [=Scolopax delicataS05; incl. S. gallinago wilsoni Seebohm 1888S05, Gallinago media wilsoniS05, G. scolopacina var. wilsoniiS05]

*Gallinago gallinago (Linnaeus 1758)CC10, BKB15, ME04 [=Scolopax gallinagoCC10, Capella gallinagoM02; incl. S. coelestisCC10, *Capella coelestisCC10, Gallinago scolopacina Winge 1898S05]

Gallinago hardwickii (Gray 1831)CC10 [=Scolopax hardwickiiCC10, Capella hardwickiRN72, *Ditelmatias hardwickiiCC10, Gallinago hardwickiCC10; incl. Scolopax australis Latham 1802CC10, G. australisCC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1–2): 1–17.

[MS55] Mertens, R., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Die im Senckenberg-Museum vorhandenen Arten ausgestorbener, aussterbender oder seltener Vögel. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (3–4): 241–265.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

Ridgway, R. 1887. A Manual of North American Birds. J. B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[S05] Schalow, H. 1905. Die Vögel der Arktis. In: Römer, F., & F. Schaudinn (eds) Fauna Arctica. Eine Zusammenstellun der arktischen Tierformen, mit besonder Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 vol. 4 pp. 79–288. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

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