Painted Snipes Rostratulidae

Class: Aves Order: Charadriiformes Family: Rostratulidae Number of species: 2 species



Painted snipes range in size from 7.4 to 10.9 inches (19 to 28 centimeters) in length and from 2.3 to 7 ounces (65 to 200 grams) in weight. They have strong legs and long toes. Painted snipes have bills that curve downward at the tip and spread slightly to take on a spatula-like shape. The South American painted snipe is black-brown on the back and white on the belly. The head and neck are reddish brown in color with a contrasting cream-colored stripe. Males and females are generally similar in appearance, but females are slightly brighter in color and also slightly larger in size. The other species in the family is the greater painted snipe. In greater painted snipes, females have brown heads and necks, bronze-green wings, and black-barred backs. Males are duller in color, with spotted heads and gray-gold backs. Both male and female greater snipes have a striking pale streak around the eye, as well as a pale stripe on top of the head.


Greater painted snipes are found in Africa, south Asia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. The South American painted snipe is found only in South America.


Painted snipes occur primarily in wetland habitats such as marshes. They can also be found in moist grasslands and along streams and rivers with vegetation along the banks. Some populations inhabit human-made environments, including rice phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family fields. Both painted snipe species regularly move short distances to find appropriate wet habitats.

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