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Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
This species has a large global population estimated to be 1,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002).

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number > c.1,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006). National population sizes have been estimated at < c.50 individuals on migration and < c.50 wintering individuals in China and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory and crosses Europe on a broad front (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from May to early-September (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in well-dispersed solitary pairs (Johnsgard 1981, Snow and Perrins 1998), after which (between August and September) adults undergo a flightless moulting period close to the breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The autumn south-west migration occurs from mid-September to mid-November, with the species departing its wintering grounds again in March to mid-April (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season the species remains largely solitary, usually feeding singly or in groups of up to 5 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Most of its activities are carried out nocturnally or in the early morning and late evening (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the northern taiga and forest tundra zones on open grassy marshes and bogs with swampy ground (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) on flood-plains (del Hoyo et al. 1996), in swampy coniferous forest, willow Salix spp. marshes or wet alder Alnus spp. woods (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season it inhabits both fresh and brackish wetlands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) showing a preference for mosaics of moist and waterlogged mudflats with soft, silty mud and dense of tussocks vegetation (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Suitable habitats include swamps, fens (Snow and Perrins 1998), grassy marshes (Johnsgard 1981), the margins of rivers and streams (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), overgrown flood-lands, sewage farms (Snow and Perrins 1998), rice-fields (Johnsgard 1981), flooded arable fields, damp pastures and water meadows (Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet Its diet consists of adult and larval insects, annelid worms, small freshwater and terrestrial gastropods and the seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic and shoreline plants (Johnsgard 1981). Breeding site The nest is positioned on hummocks of sphagnum moss or grass tussocks on floating bogs just above the surrounding water (Johnsgard 1981), also on drier ground amongst bushes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. dwarf birch Betula nana and heather) (Johnsgard 1981). Management information The annual success of reproduction is estimated every year by wing surveys in Denmark since the end of the 1970s, and in France since the mid-1990s. Hunting bags are estimated every year in Denmark (Clausager 2006).

The species is threatened by the loss and degradation of its wetland habitats through afforestation, peat extraction and drainage for agricultural intensification (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It also suffers from lead poisoning as a result of ingesting lead shot deposited on wetlands (Olivier 2006). Utilisation The species is hunted during the autumn migration (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. in Denmark) (Bregnballe et al. 2006).

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Bregnballe, T., Noer, H., Christensen, T.K., Clausen, P., Asferg, T., Fox, A.D. and Delany, S. 2006. Sustainable hunting of migratory waterbirds: the Danish approach. In: G. Boere, C. Galbraith, and D. Stroud (eds), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 854-860. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Clausager, I. 2006. Wing survey of Woodcock and Snipe in Denmark. International Wader Studies 11: 106-112.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Olivier, G-N. 2006. Considerations on the use of lead shot over wetlands. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 866-867. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Malpas, L.

Ferrand, Y.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Lymnocryptes minimus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Br&uuml;nnich, 1764)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7,680,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment