Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Near Threatened

Imperial Snipe (Gallinago imperialis)


French: Bécassine impériale German: Kaiserbekassine Spanish: Agachadiza imperial

Gallinago imperialis

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1869,

Bogotá, Colombia


Formerly placed in genus Chubbia. Recent phylogenetic study suggested that this species may be sister to Coenocorypha (which see), rather than to other members of genus Gallinago#R, while similarities in their displays had already been noted#R. Monotypic.


Isolated sites in Andes from Ecuador (S from Carchi) to Peru (Piura, Amazonas, La Libertad and Cuzco); probably more widespread. Old records from Colombia.

Descriptive notes

29–31 cm; one male 196 g. Large, dark rufous woodcock-like snipe, with very broad, rounded wings and slightly drooping bill; lacks pale stripes on head and upperparts;... read more


Song given in high flight, usually pre-dawn or in last light of dusk (and at night during breeding... read more


Occurs in zone around treeline at 2745–3800 m, where probably mainly restricted to bogs and... read more

Food and feeding

No information available. Thought to feed on worms (up to 10 cm long) and arthropods by probing in layer of thick mosses, venturing into... read more


Virtually nothing known, but nest recently discovered in early Apr in far S Ecuador. The latter was a flimsy construction comprising a few... read more


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. No population estimate available, and biology virtually unknown; species apparently occurs at very low... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Imperial Snipe (Gallinago imperialis). 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 28 February 2020).