The snipe is a small wading bird with richly patterned brown plumage and a distinctive long, straight beak.
It breeds in Ireland, though in relatively small and declining numbers, but at this time of year there is a large influx of winter migrants. These come from all over northern Europe but with a high proportion from western Iceland (birds from Eastern Iceland seem to prefer Scotland as a winter home).
They are often under-recorded in surveys and there is a lack of recent data for Ireland but the species seems to be declining all over its range and is amber-listed. Part of the reason for the under-recording is that they are shy, nocturnal birds that spend the daylight hours roosting on the ground in bogs, wet pastures and other damp places. When they’re flushed they take to the air with a characteristic rapid, zig-zag flight pattern. They eat invertebrates which they locate by probing soft ground with their beaks, and some vegetable matter. There is another smaller, and less common, species called the jack snipe.
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