Gallinago nigripennis

Physical characteristics: African snipes range in size from 9.8 to 11.4 inches (25 to 29 centimeters) and weigh between 3 and 6 ounces (90 to 164 grams). Birds have dark backs and pale bellies. Females and males are generally similar in size and appearance except that females have somewhat longer bills.

Geographic range: African snipes are found in southern and eastern Africa.

Habitat: African snipes occupy wetland habitats with areas of exposed mud and short vegetation.

SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Diet: African snipes eat primarily worms and insect larvae (LAR-vee). They forage, or search for food, at dusk and at night.

Behavior and reproduction: When disturbed, African snipes make a harsh calling noise and escape using a characteristic zigzag flight. Male African snipes attract females by making a "drumming" noise with their tail feathers. African snipes are monogamous, with a single male mating with a single female. Breeding occurs during or after the rainy season. The female lays two to three eggs at a time, generally in a hidden grassy area on moist or wet ground.

African snipes and people: No significant interactions between African snipes and people are known.

Conservation status: African snipes are not considered threatened. However, worldwide destruction of wetland habitats could endanger them in the future. ■

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