Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)


Madagascar Snipe (Gallinago macrodactyla)


French: Bécassine malgache German: Madagaskarbekassine Spanish: Agachadiza malgache

Gallinago macrodactyla


, 1839,



Has been treated as conspecific with G. gallinago and G. nobilis. Monotypic.


Madagascar, mainly in C & E, from Tsaratanana S to Mandena and W to R Sakay on C plateau.

Descriptive notes

29–32 cm; 216 g (one female). Large, heavy, long-billed snipe. Structurally similar to G. nigripennis, but with less contrast between upperparts and underparts... read more


Aerial display, given only during breeding season including at night, is not well documented but... read more


Grassy and sedge-covered marshes and swamps including tall papyrus beds, margins of watercourses,... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, seeds and other plant matter recorded. Probes deeply into mud; normally feeds in muddy areas or shallow water. Outside... read more


Poorly known. Laying probably Jul–Jan, probably until Apr and year-round breeding possible. Nest a depression on dry hummock,... read more


Apparently sedentary, although it has been suggested that species is only a visitor to Île... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Overall population estimated at 1800–7500 individuals and considered to be declining; apparently uncommon within restricted breeding range, but, as with... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Madagascar Snipe (Gallinago macrodactyla). 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).