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LC
African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis

Justification
This species has a very 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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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)
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.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Ecology
Behaviour This species is mainly sedentary (Hockey et al. 2005) although it is subject to local movements associated with the drying of temporary floods (Urban et al. 1986), sometimes moving several hundred kilometres away from nesting sites (del Hoyo et al. 1996). In East Africa it also descends to lower altitudes after breeding (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is usually found feeding in small numbers or scattered groups (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and nesting solitarily (not closer than 30 m) (Hockey et al. 2005). It is also least active during the middle of the day (although it is not crepuscular) (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat This species is always found associated with freshwater or brackish wetlands, and is typically found on vleis, marshes, highland bogs, wetlands around artificial water bodies, ditches, inland deltas (e.g. the flood plain of the Okavango River) (Hockey et al. 2005), swampy lake edges, seasonally flooded grasslands (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and wet moorlands (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It most frequently occurs at high altitudes (1,500 m in Ethiopia and north-east Africa, occasionally reaching up to 4,000 m) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and typically nests at between 1,800-2,700 m in East Africa (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although it can also be found on lowland wetlands inhabiting shallow estuaries and lagoons (Hockey et al. 2005). The species also favours soft muddy areas among shallowly flooded vegetation on which to feed (Urban et al. 1986, Hockey et al. 2005). Diet The diet of this species mainly consists of the larvae of beetles, dragonflies and flies, annelid worms, small crustaceans, molluscs and sometimes seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a pad of grass leaves hidden in a tuft of grass or fine rushes, surrounded by flooded or moist ground (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), often where grazing animals have opened up muddy patches and paths (Hockey et al. 2005).

Threats
This species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation in Kenya (such as decreases in the area of natural pasture, lake-edge and stream-edge marshes; agricultural expansions; and increases in the area of lake mudflats due to increased siltation and reduced water supply) owing to encroachment, overgrazing, burning and the drainage of wetland areas by peasant farmers (Gichuki et al. 2006). A population in Zimbabwe recently crashed after an extreme drought, and the species is may also be threatened by future outbreaks of avian botulism (Blaker 1967, Hockey et al. 2005).

References
Blaker, D. 1967. An outbreak of Botulinus poisoning among waterbirds. Ostrich 38(2): 144-147.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; 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.

Gichuki, C. M.; Gichuki, N. N.; Gakuo, L. W. 2006. The influence of human activities on habitat use by African Snipe in Kenya. Journal of Ornithology 147(5): 172.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

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

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Gallinago nigripennis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author Bonaparte, 1839
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 497,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change