Noble Snipe Gallinago nobilis is currently listed as Least Concern because it was not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
The species has a large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence less than 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 was thought to be stable, and hence the species did not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations); the population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).
This species, described as uncommon to fairly numerous across its range (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Hilty 2003, Restall et al. 2006), was suspected to have a stable population; however, it has been suggested that it is in fact declining, at least in some areas (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Cisneros-Heredia 2006). During the last 30-40 years, an estimated 20-65% of its habitats in Ecuador have been desiccated, or transformed into agricultural lands and suburban areas (Sierra et al. 1999 in Cisneros-Heredia 2006).
The species is a frequent target of hunters across its range, and in some areas of Ecuador over-hunting and habitat degradation appear to be causing local declines (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Cisneros-Heredia 2006). Surveys at La Mica Lagoon, Ecuador, indicate a marked decline since 1993, despite an increase in the size of the lagoon due to damming and the subsequent recovery of wet grasslands (Muñoz and Olmedo in Cisneros-Heredia 2006). In the paramos of El Angel and Guamaní, and in the Mojanda lagoons, Ecuador, similar patterns of population decline have been observed, probably caused by over-hunting and burning of large areas. In contrast, stable populations of this species are present in protected areas such as Limpiopungu lagoon in Cotopaxi National Park and a private reserve in the Yanacocha area (Cisneros-Heredia 2006).
Despite the perceived declines, the species has not been listed as threatened or Near Threatened at the national level in Ecuador (Granizo et al. 2002) or Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002). If the rates of habitat loss and intensity of hunting pressure described by Cisneros-Heredia (2006) for Ecuador are representative of threats throughout its range, this species could be experiencing an ongoing and moderately rapid decline, likely to be approaching 30% over 14 years (estimate of three generations). If this is shown to be the case, the species may be eligible for uplisting to Near Threatened under criteria A2a,c,d; A3a,c,d; A4a,c,d.
With all this in mind, further information is requested on the species’s likely population trend in all range states, as well as the current and past severity of potential threats.
Cisneros-Heredia, D. F. (2006) A preliminary approach to the Snipes (Gallinago) of Ecuador, with remarks on their distribution in Ecuadorian IBAs and its conservation status. WI-WSSG Newsletter 32: 4-11.
Granizo, T., Pacheco, C., Ribadeneira, M. B., Guerrero, M., Suárez, L. eds. (2002) Libro rojo de las aves del Ecuador. Serie Libros Rojos del Ecuador, tomo 2. Quito: SIMBIOE/Conservation International/EcoCiencia/Ministerio del Ambiente/IUCN.
Hilty, S. L. (2003) Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm.
Renjifo, L. M., Franco-Maya, A. M., Amaya-Espinel, J. D., Kattan, G. H. and López-Lanús, B. eds. (2002) Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Serie Libros Rojos de Especies Amenazadas de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente.
Restall, R., Rodner, C. and Lentino, M. (2006) Birds of Northern South America: an identification guide. Volume 1: Species Accounts. London: Christopher Helm.
Ridgely, R. S. and Greenfield, P. J. (2001) The Birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press and Christopher Helm.