Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Giant Snipe (Gallinago undulata)


Taxonomy

French: Bécassine géante German: Riesenbekassine Spanish: Agachadiza gigante
Taxonomy:

Scolopax undulata

Boddaert

, 1783,

Cayenne

.

Some authors suggest that strikingly larger race gigantea may merit treatment as a separate species; acoustic evidence needed to support this, as plumage differences appear to be slight or non-existent. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. u. undulata (Boddaert, 1783) – W & E Colombia; Venezuela to extreme N Brazil (N Roraima) and E to the Guianas.
  • G. u. gigantea (Temminck, 1826) – E Bolivia, E Paraguay and SE Brazil; probably also Uruguay and NE Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    36–47 cm; race undulata 270–362 g, race gigantea 420–500 g. Largest snipe, with flat-headed profile, and bill very long with broad base;... read more

    Voice

    Noises during display flight (up to 300 m above ground) very different to those of G. gallinago... read more

    Habitat

    In swamps with tall vegetation, damp heath-like vegetation, marshy pastures and flooded grasslands... read more

    Food and feeding

    Virtually nothing known; diet said to include frogs, but gizzard contents of specimens collected in Surinam contained solely vegetable... read more

    Breeding

    Very poorly known. Tiny eggs in oviduct in Jan in Surinam; nests found in Sept in Brazil, and from Nov to early Mar. Often nests on small... read more

    Movements

    Virtually nothing known; arrives at some sites seasonally, apparently after rain, but direct... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Considered Near Threatened in Paraguay. No population estimates available, but Brazil, where the species is scarce as far N as Bahia... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Giant Snipe (Gallinago undulata). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/53881 on 19 April 2019).