Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Magellanic SnipeGallinago magellanica magellanica
Local Name: Snipe
Breeding Range: Falklands & South America
Falklands Population: ~8,000 breeding pairs
World Population: unknown
There is some uncertainty as to whether Falklands Snipe should be divided into two distinct species, but for the purposes here they are treated as one species. Snipe are common in heath and grassland throughout the Falklands, but they are very secretive and easily overlooked. Nests are hidden in vegetation, being simple hollows lined with grass. Two or three eggs are laid from August onwards, and young leave the nest at an early age in search of food under the parents care. A wide variety of invertebrates are taken as prey, the long bill enabling them to wade in shallow ponds or to extract earthworms and grubs from heath and grassland. The Snipe's usual response to danger is to remain still, their excellent camouflage making them very hard to spot amongst vegetation. Sexes are similar in appearance.