Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

South American Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae)


French: Bécassine de Magellan German: Magellanbekassine Spanish: Agachadiza paraguaya

Scolopax Paraguaiæ


, 1816,



Sometimes treated as conspecific with G. gallinago (with G. delicata) and G. nigripennis; treated as conspecific with G. andina in HBW, but strong trend since at least mid-1980s against this view. Race magellanica may be close to separate species status; study of vocalizations needed in Falkland population. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. paraguaiae (Vieillot, 1816) – South American Snipe – E Colombia through Venezuela to the Guianas, and S through E Peru and W, C & S Brazil to N Argentina and Uruguay; Trinidad and possibly Tobago.
  • G. p. magellanica (P. P. King, 1828) – Magellanic Snipe – C Chile and C Argentina S to Tierra del Fuego; Falkland Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    26–30 cm; male 106–139 g, female 113–182·9 g (nominate). Small snipe, very similar to G. gallinago and G. nigripennis, but normally... read more


    Song from ground is a slow, excited “chwip ... chwip ... chip ...” or “kek kek kek”, rising in... read more


    Habitats differ between races. Widespread paraguaiae typically occurs in wet grassy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Said to feed mainly on invertebrates, e.g. insect larvae and earthworms. Feeds by probing in mud, in style similar to that used by G.... read more


    Race paraguaiae probably mainly nests from late Nov onwards in S of range (eggs ready to lay in Dec in W Argentina), and eggs... read more


    Nominate paraguaiae essentially sedentary, in some areas performing short seasonal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No population estimates available, but numbers thought to be relatively stable and range huge. Race magellanica common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). South American Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae). 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).