Snipes, Sandpipers and Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) - HBW 3, p. 496

French: Bécassine des marais German: Bekassine Spanish: Agachadiza Común
Other common names: Fantail/Wilson Snipe

Taxonomy: Scolopax Gallinago Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Genus formerly named Capella, as this name erroneously considered to pre-date Gallinago (see page 446). Forms superspecies with G. paraguaiae and perhaps G. nigripennis, which are sometimes included as subspecies of present species, but differences in size, outer tail feathers and quality of aerial “winnowing” suggest separate species status; G. macrodactyla may also belong to superspecies. Race delicata may constitute separate species; has 16 tail feathers, as opposed to usually 14 (sometimes 12, 16 or 18) in nominate; both forms breed nearby in .. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Scolopax Gallinago Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Genus formerly named Capella, as this name erroneously considered to pre-date Gallinago (see page 446). Forms superspecies with G. paraguaiae and perhaps G. nigripennis, which are sometimes included as subspecies of present species, but differences in size, outer tail feathers and quality of aerial “winnowing” suggest separate species status; G. macrodactyla may also belong to superspecies. Race delicata may constitute separate species; has 16 tail feathers, as opposed to usually 14 (sometimes 12, 16 or 18) in nominate; both forms breed nearby in Aleutians. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • faeroeensis (C. L. Brehm, 1831) - Iceland, Faeroes, Orkney and Shetland; winters in British Is.
  • gallinago (Linnaeus, 1758) - British Is, Scandinavia and W Europe through NC Eurasia to Kamchatka and W Aleutians, with isolated population from NE Afghanistan to N India; winters from W Europe, Mediterranean and equatorial Africa through Middle East, Arabia and Indian Subcontinent to E China, S Korea, S Japan, Philippines and W Indonesia.
  • delicata (Ord, 1825) - E Aleutians and Alaska E through Canada to Newfoundland, and S to C California, New Mexico, C Iowa and New Jersey; winters from NW & C USA through Central America and Greater Antilles to N South America.