Eurasian snipe Gallinago gallinago, photographed by J. C. Schou.

Belongs within: Scolopacidae.

Gallinago, the snipes, are stocky, straight-billed wading birds. They are found in most parts of the world though only as non-breeding migrants in Australia. Species are found in freshwater habitats such as marshes and riverbanks.

Characters (from Ridgway 1887): Top of head with longitudinal stripes. Ears situated directly under eyes; tip of upper mandible thickened, with cutting edges brought close together. Plumage not varying between breeding and non-breeding seasons. Lower part of thighs naked; back of tarsus with continuous row of transverse scutellae.

<==Gallinago Brisson 1760 [incl. Capella Frenzel 1801, Ditelmatias Mathews 1913; Gallinaginae, Gallinagininae] CC10
    |--+--G. media (Latham 1787) BKB15, M02 [=Scolopax media M02, Capella media M02]
    |  `--+--G. megala Swinhoe 1861 JT12, WS48 [incl. G. australis oweni Mathews 1912 WS48]
    |     `--G. stenura JT12
    `--+--*G. gallinago (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, ME04 (see below for synonymy)
       `--+--G. nigripennis BKB15
          `--+--G. delicata BKB15
             `--G. paraguaiae JT12

Gallinago incertae sedis:
  G. andina JT12
  G. hardwickii (Gray 1831) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
  G. imperialis JT12
  G. jamesoni JT12
  G. macrodactyla JT12
  G. nemoricola JT12
  G. nobilis JT12
  G. solitaria JT12
    |--G. s. solitaria VP89
    `--G. s. japonica VP89
  G. stricklandii JT12
  G. undulata JT12 [=Capella undulata MS55]
    |--G. u. undulata MS55
    `--‘Capella’ u. gigantea MS55
  G. veterior Jánossy 1979 [=Capella veterior] M02

*Gallinago gallinago (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, ME04 [=Scolopax gallinago CC10, Capella gallinago M02; incl. S. coelestis CC10, *Capella coelestis CC10]

Gallinago hardwickii (Gray 1831) CC10 [=Scolopax hardwickii CC10, Capella hardwicki RN72, *Ditelmatias hardwickii CC10, Gallinago hardwicki CC10; incl. Scolopax australis Latham 1802 CC10, G. australis CC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1–2): 1–17.

[MS55] Mertens, R., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Die im Senckenberg-Museum vorhandenen Arten ausgestorbener, aussterbender oder seltener Vögel. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (3–4): 241–265.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

Ridgway, R. 1887. A Manual of North American Birds. J. B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 10 August 2019.

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