The Jack Snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus is a small stocky wader. It is the smallest snipe, and the only member of the genus Lymnocryptes. Features such as its sternum make it quite distinct from other snipes or woodcocks.
Adults are smaller than Common Snipe and have relatively shorter bill. The body is mottled brown on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye. The wings are pointed and narrow, and yellow back stripes are visible in flight. When seen, the distinctive bobbing movement, as if the bird is on springs, has an almost hypnotic quality.
The head pattern of Jack Snipe differs from Common Snipe and other species in the genus Gallinago, in that there is no central crown-stripe; instead, there are two pale lateral crown-stripes, which are separated from the supercilium by an area of dark plumage.
Distribution and habitatEdit
Jack Snipes are migratory, spending the non-breeding period in Great Britain, Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal Europe, Africa, and India. The Jack Snipe is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. Their breeding habitat is marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows with short vegetation in northern Europe and northern Russia.
Jack Snipe can be secretive in their non-breeding areas and are difficult to observe, being well camouflaged in their habitat. Consequently, birdwatchers have developed a specialised technique for finding them. This involves walking through its marshy habitat until a bird is disturbed and flies up. Jack Snipe will squat down and not flush from cover until an intruder is quite close. They then quietly fly a short distance before dropping back into vegetation.
They forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and earthworms, also plant material.
The male performs an aerial display during courtship, during which it makes a distinctive sound like a galloping horse. It is silent in winter. They nest in a well-hidden location on the ground, laying 3–4 eggs.