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Tips On Photographing The Great Snipe With Eschenbach

The great snipe is a shy wading bird, and here are some helpful tips for spotting it with Eschenbach.

| Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife

Tips On Photographing The Great Snipe With Eschenbach: the great snipe

The great snipe

This shy wading bird is unfortunately becoming rarer in Europe. If you are lucky enough to witness its unique courtship display, it's something very special.



Like the common snipe, the great snipe is a compact, very powerful bird with strong legs and a long beak. Their plumage is mottled brown on top while the belly is white with dark barring. The head also has light and dark bands and a dark line connects the eye and the beak.The different brown and black tones on the back make for a great camouflage pattern. During flight, one can easily see the tail’s white edges as well as the white wingbars.



The great snipe breed mainly in the north and east of Europe and Asia. The major European breeding grounds are in Norway and Poland. This species prefers wet meadows, marshes, river valleys and open areas in coniferous forest.

Most great snipes migrate to Africa in winter to avoid cold temperatures. They spend winter in Congo, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Malawi. While the birds leave their breeding areas early, they spend more time in their wintering areas. Some birds even spend April in Africa. But once they begin traveling north, they usually fly straight to their breeding grounds. As a result, all breeding areas are fully occupied at the beginning of June.



Perhaps the great snipe need a long time in Africa to recover from its strenuous courtship. This bird has a very specific courtship display known as lekking. At certain places in the breeding area, up to 20 males can be found competing against each other. All males perform their ballet at the same time, jumping back and forth in the air. Two males will often measure themselves by jumping simultaneously. When a female appears, of course, the performance becomes even more intense.

Great snipes build their nests on the ground, deep in thick vegetation. They line a shallow depression with grass and soft moss. The female lays three or four speckled eggs and incubates them for three good weeks. After hatching, the young remain in the care of their mother for a month, until they become fully independent.

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bennydog Avatar
13 Sep 2017 5:56PM
Here in New Zealand we have a very small and very rare family of Snipe. Found now only on a few very isolated and predator free Islands it has s similar courtship not Lek but males fly into the air undercover of darkness, descending rapidly with their tails arranged in such a manner it creates a very load roaring noise.
Most unnerving to the uninitiated, Early Maori called this " Haka wai", literally dance of the water not knowing its course and therefor fearful of its imagined maker...Neil Foster

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