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Thread: Snipes ???, West Malaysia ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member kctsang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Unhappy Snipes ???, West Malaysia ...


    I have managed to identify one of the photos as a Common Snipe, however the two pictures of the same snipe which I took later, seems to look different from the first picture of the Common Snipe. There seems to be facial differences. And the tail seems shorter.

    Would greatly appreciate your views on this bird ...

    Thanking you in advance ....

    K C Tsang
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK



    Very nice images of snipe. The 2nd and 3rd shots are clearly interesting, and do not appear to be Common but remind me very much of Pintail or Swinhoe's. Note for example the shorter, broad-based bill, and the pale inner edge to the scapulars as broad as the outer, the thin dark line under the eye, the pale tips to the coverts and the large amount of pale markings in the inner greater covert... However, to move any further forwards is very difficult, given the problems in separating the two species.

    Identification of Pintail Snipe and Swinhoe's Snipe, Paul Leader and Geoff carey, British Birds 96: 178-198 states 'we have been unable to identify a single plumage character which can be used in their separation at any time of the year'! So with such a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, you may get no further unless you see the diagnostic shape and pattern of the outer tail feathers - or hear it call....

    We might be able to age your birds, as the outer edge to the scapulars are whiter on juveniles, on adults they seem to be a richer ochraceous buff; the markings on the inner greater coverts are not strongly barred across the feather as they seem to in adults. So, to me, it appears to be a juvenile.

    There are some images at 'Mr Gallinago's' website, but be warned about the identification of the images.

    Brian S

  3. #3
    Senior Member JanJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    The so called 'Swintails' is a good name suggestion as to the identification of the two snipes mentioned by Brian - who also covered the key ID features. Also note the short tail projection in image 3, usually longer in Common Snipe.

    Note the narrow loral stripe and scapular pattern in this one:


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