Tag Archives: African Snipe

African Snipe

Gallinago nigripennis

The African Snipe is a wading bird closely associated with wetland habitats (seasonal or permanent) with a muddy substrate and flooded vegetation, where they feed on aquatic invertebrates ranging from worms to crabs. Adults grow to about 28cm in length and average 113g in weight.

African Snipes build their grass-platform nests in dense vegetation surrounded by water or wet ground. Pairs are monogamous and build their nests well away from others of their kind, and at any time of year though there appears to be a breeding peak in winter. Clutches of 1-3 eggs are incubated solely by the female but both parents take care of the chicks, which leave the nest when they’re about 3 weeks old. When not breeding they may occur in flocks of around 20 or so.

The African Snipe occurs widely over eastern, central and southern Africa, and is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN, despite their preferred habitats being threatened by exploitation. In South Africa they have a wide if patchy distribution in all provinces except the Northern Cape.