Wilson’s Snipe

Wilsons Snipe

Wilson’s Snipes are small, stocky shorebirds that are known for the “winnowing” sounds their fanned-out outer tail feathers make when they’re flying fast. Wilson’s Snipes may be small and short but they can fly extremely fast with speeds estimated at 60 miles an hour. 

Though they may be difficult to spot due to their brown mottled and streaked camouflage their extremely long bills help them stand out. Adults and juveniles are similar. 

  • Gallinago delicata
  • Length: 10 – 11 in (25 – 28 cm)
  • Weight: 6.38 oz (181 g)
  • Wingspan: 17 – 20 in (43 – 51 cm)


Wilson’s Snipe breed in Canada and north Us states before migrating to the US coast, southern and eastern US states and Central America.

Habitat and Diet

You can find Wilson’s Snipes in freshwater marshes, muddy swamps, and damp fields with vegetation to hide in. When flushed out, they will fly in a zigzag motion to confuse predators. 

Wilson’s Snipes forage in muddy soil in search of larval insects, crustaceans, earthworms, and mollusks. They plunge their long bills deep into the ground, sometimes up to their eyes, and simply swallow their prey without lifting the bills. 

Wilson’s Snipe Calls:


Nests of Wilson’s Snipes are scrapes made by the female and lined with grass which she adds onto with every egg laid. She lays two to four eggs and incubates them for about twenty days. 

Fun Facts:

The eyes of a Wilson’ Snipe are set far back on its head to allow it to dig deeply into the mud with its long bill. With this, it can see well from all angles, even from the back.