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Subject: Common snipe or Pintail snipe [Print This Page]

Author: wkcheng    Time: 18/10/2009 22:07     Subject: Common snipe or Pintail snipe

Please help to id this snipe.
Mai Po Access Road

Image Attachment: DSC_7327a.jpg (18/10/2009 22:07, 185.09 KB) / Download count 257

Author: lchunfai    Time: 18/10/2009 22:40

To me ,it was a Pintail snipe
Author: HFCheung    Time: 19/10/2009 14:13

It is either a Pintail or Swinhoe's Snipe.  Check the tail pattern in Birds of HK and S China.
It looks like a Swinhoe's to me.

HF Cheung
Author: wkcheng    Time: 19/10/2009 21:02

I saw it flew across and landing quietly in less than 2 sec. Only 2 photos were taken. Another photo showed the upper part of its wing.

Any additional comments?

Image Attachment: DSC_7328a.jpg (19/10/2009 21:02, 107.62 KB) / Download count 280

Author: cgeoff    Time: 20/10/2009 12:32

Great that you've got this photo, well done! However, I don't think it's possible to say if it is Pintail or Swinhoes's. The two are extremely similar, and most birds have to be left as 'either/or'.

Author: ajohn    Time: 20/10/2009 14:07

The bird has it's tail spread on the first picture. I think the outer tail feathers are probably narrow enough for pintail and too narrow for Swinhoe's, but this pair is always very difficult in the field and as Geoff says, it might be better to leave this as either/or
Author: lpaul    Time: 20/10/2009 17:41

This is almost certainly a Swinhoe's Snipe based on the pattern of the outer tail feathers.

The following text is extracted from a detailed paper on the ifd of Pintail and Swinhoe's Snipe that Geoff and I published in the journal 'British Birds' in 2003.  If anyone would like me to email them a pdf copy of this paper please send me a private message.  I should warn you though that the paper goes to great lengths to expalin how difficult the id of the two is!!

'Although Swinhoe’s Snipe generally shows more white in the tail than Pintail Snipe, suggestions by Shirihai (1988) that this is a good field character do not take into account the variation in tail pattern of Swinhoe’s. Pintail Snipe consistently shows white tips and inner webs to the narrow outer rectrices. If present, the pale tips to the central rectrices are buffish, and rarely whitish, unlike the illustration in Hayman et al. (1986). In comparison, although Swinhoe’s Snipe usually has white tips to the outer rectrices, these may also be rich buff or pale ginger, colours rarely, if ever, shown by Pintail Snipe. The central rectrices of Swinhoe’s Snipe may also be conspicuously tipped pale, often white, unlike Pintail. Swinhoe’s Snipe consistently shows barred or chequered outer rectrices, however. On Pintail, these are typically plain, except for white tips. Patterned (barred or chequered) outer tail feathers are exceptional in Pintail, and while some Swinhoe’s occasionally show plain outer tail feathers, and thus appear extremely similar to Pintail, a bird with white tips to the central rectrices and chequered or barred outer rectrices
is most probably a Swinhoe’s Snipe.'
Author: wkcheng    Time: 21/10/2009 23:01

Thanks all of you to provide valuable opinions.

Special thanks for lpaul in sending me the paper and I will study it.

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