Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)


Chatham Snipe (Coenocorypha pusilla)


French: Bécassine des Chatham German: Chathamschnepfe Spanish: Chochita de las Chatham

Gallinago pusilla


, 1869,

small rocky islet off Chatham Island


Closely related to and sometimes considered conspecific with †C. iredalei, C. huegeli and C. aucklandica, but differs from them in its much smaller size (effect size for male bill difference 6.63; score 3); somewhat coarser breast streaking than in morphologically closest nominate aucklandica (1); apparently (fide published sonagrams#R) different song structure (accelerating where aucklandica does not) and calls (at least 3). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Chatham Is, breeding only on islands of Rangatira (South-east), Mangere, Little Mangere and Star Keys; occasionally on Pitt I and nearby Rabbit I#R.

Descriptive notes

19–20 cm; 61–110 g, wingspan 28–30 cm. The only extant snipe species on Chatham Is, thus unlikely to be confused. Small, compact, short-legged snipe; creamy... read more


Main call a loud “chup chup” given by adult males, and which builds into a series of disyllabic “... read more


Mainly in areas with substantial bush cover and remnant forest, especially among Carex... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes earthworms, amphipods (hoppers), beetles and insect larvae and pupae. Feeds by probing in leaf-mould or moist grassland soils... read more


Laying Jul–Apr. Monogamous. Male probably performs nocturnal drumming display flight (see Voice) and courtship feeds female. Solitary... read more


Sedentary, although inter-island movements within Chatham Is have occurred, e.g. occasional records... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Total population estimated at 900–1050 pairs, with Rangatira I holding 700–800 pairs, Mangere I holding 200–250 pairs, and Little Mangere I and... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Chatham Snipe (Coenocorypha pusilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).