Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Near Threatened

Great Snipe (Gallinago media)


French: Bécassine double German: Doppelschnepfe Spanish: Agachadiza real

Scolopax Media


, 1787,





Scandinavia E through Baltic States, Poland and W Russia to R Yenisey. Winters in sub-Saharan Africa; occasional in Middle East.

Descriptive notes

27–29 cm; 140–260 g; wingspan 47–50 cm. Medium-sized, bulky snipe; differs from similar species by bold white tips on wing-coverts, bold dark barring on... read more


Generally silent away from display areas (leks), attended by up to 100 birds, usually many fewer.... read more


Selects habitats rich with sub-surface invertebrates and medium scrub cover for breeding, usually... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly earthworms, but also gastropods and larvae and adults of terrestrial insects, such as beetles, ants, crickets, flies, caddisflies... read more


Lays mid May to early Jul. Polygamous. The only Gallinago with no aerial nuptial display in which distinctive sounds made by tail... read more


Migratory. Departure from breeding grounds from early Aug, and wintering on flooded grasslands in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Declined enormously over entire breeding range during 20th century; extinct as breeder in Germany (last bred... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Great Snipe (Gallinago media). 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 15 October 2018).