The Great Snipe, Gallinago media is a small stocky wader in the genus Gallinago.
This bird's breeding habitat is marshes and wet meadows with short vegetation in north-eastern Europe including north-western Russia. Great Snipes are migratory, wintering in Africa. The European breeding population is in steep decline.
The birds are noted for their fast, non-stop flying capabilities over huge distances. They can fly up to 50 miles per hour, with researchers finding little evidence of wind assistance. Some have been recorded to fly non-stop for 96 hours over 4,200 miles. Their wings are not especially aerodynamic, lacking pointed tips, and they typically do not stop to feed despite having opportunities. The birds instead rely on stores of fat.
The males display at a dusk lek during the breeding season, standing erect with chest puffed and tail fanned. They may jump into the air. They produce a variety of rattles, clicks, buzzes and whistles while displaying. 3-4 eggs are laid in a nest in a well-hidden location on the ground.
These birds forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and earthworms, and occasional plant material. They are difficult to see, being well camouflaged in their habitat. When flushed from cover, they fly straight for a considerable distance before dropping back into vegetation.
At 26–30 cm in length and a 42–50 cm wingspan, adults are only slightly larger, but much bulkier, than Common Snipe and have a shorter bill. The body is mottled brown on top and barred underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye. The wings are broad, and a pale wingbar is visible in flight.
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