Fuegian snipe (Gallinago stricklandii)

Also known as: Cordilleran snipe
Synonyms: Gallinago stricklandii stricklandii
GenusGallinago (1)
SizeLength: 29 - 30 cm (2)

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The Fuegian snipe is a poorly known wading bird from the rugged southern tip of South America (2) (3). Like other snipes, it is long billed and beautifully camouflaged, with a patterned plumage of rufous, dark brown and greyish buff (2) (4). The sexes are alike in appearance, with neither undergoing any seasonal changes, and the juveniles are broadly similar to the adults (2). In the past, the Fuegian snipe was considered conspecific with the Andean snipe, but owing to their slightly different plumage and separate distributions, they are now commonly treated as separate species (2) (5) (6).

The Fuegian snipe breeds in south-central Chile and Argentina, as far south as Tierra del Fuego (2) (3).

Found from sea-level up to 3,000 metres, in grassy or forested boggy areas with low scrub or rushes. These areas often form a mosaic comprising grassy bog, bamboo and lichen-clad dwarf forest (2) (3).

Owing to its highly secretive habits and its occurrence in a famously isolated region of the South American continent, there is only scant information on the biology of the Fuegian snipe (2) (3). It is thought to be largely nocturnal, but virtually nothing is known about its foraging habits, other than that its diet includes beetles. Nesting sites are located on elevated ground, amongst sparse grasses and rushes, and chicks and nests have been found around December, with two eggs being the average clutch size. Although it is a largely sedentary species, birds in the extreme south move north over winter (2).

With so little known about the Fuegian snipe, its conservation status is extremely uncertain. Degradation of habitat in the northern parts of its range is considered a potential threat, but while its population is estimated at less than 10,000 individuals, there is not yet any evidence of an overall decline (2) (3).

All members of the family Scolopacidae are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) (2) (7). The convention encourages international collaboration in the conservation and management of any migratory species or family group that may be under threat (7). The priority for the Fuegian snipe is to clarify the extent to which it is threatened and to protect areas of important habitat (3).

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This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)