The Snares (Island) Snipe is found in the Snares Islands, about 200 kilometres S to South Island in New Zealand. It occurs on North East Island, Broughton Island and Alert Stack. This species has been introduced to predator-free islands such as Putauhinu and Codfish Island.

The Snares (Island) Snipe frequents mainly the areas with dense ground vegetation such as tussock grassland (Poa) and ferns of genus Polystichum under trees in forest. It may frequent more open areas at night, while foraging and probing in thick grass.

The Snares (Island) Snipe male gives strident “chup chup chup”, and sometimes loud “queeyoo queeyoo queeyoo”.
During the flight displays at night, the outer rectrices produce a typical whirring sound.

The Snares (Island) Snipe feeds on a variety of invertebrates found in the soil or the mud. It probes with the bill and takes amphipods, beetles (adults, larvae and pupae), flies (larvae and pupae) and earthworms.

It forages by day or at night by quick probing. Once the prey is detected by the sensible bill’s tip, the bird plunges the bill more deeply to catch it. The large preys are extracted and manipulated before to be eaten, whereas the smaller preys are often swallowed while the bill is still probing.

The Snares (Island) Snipes are mainly monogamous and the pair bonds usually last one season, sometimes more. They are often seen in pairs. During the breeding season, the male feeds the female during three weeks prior to the egg-laying. As the snipes lay fairly large eggs, the females need some nutrients to form the eggs. This behaviour is unique in the family Scolopacidae.

They probably perform the typical whirring flight displays at night. The stiffened outer rectrices suggest that this behaviour occurs in this species like in other snipes.
The Snares (Island) Snipe is sedentary in its range. It has mainly terrestrial habits and is usually seen on the ground except during the aerial displays.

The breeding season occurs mainly between November and March. The laying on the Snares Islands coincides with the annual peak of prey abundance, often between late November and early February.
The courting pair chooses the nest-site, and the nest depends on the site. It can be built in fern clump (Polystichum vestitum). It is sheltered above by the fern trunk and on the sides by the dead hanging fronds.
The nest is made with plant debris found close to the nest-site. Fern fragments, tree leaves and pieces of bark are used. The nest is cup-shaped and is often protected from above by dense vegetation.

The female lays 2 large, very pale brown eggs with dark spots and blotches. The large size of the eggs (44 x 32 millimetres) might indicate poor food resources on the Snares Islands during the breeding season.
Both sexes incubate, the male mostly at night, white the female is foraging and recovering after the laying. At hatching, the chicks are covered with blackish-brown down overall and have short black bill.
The male cares for the first chick leaving the nest, while the female tends the second one. The chicks are precocial and leave the nest soon after hatching.
The parents tend them for 8-11 weeks. The pair “adult-chick” is independent from the other, and if the adult loses its chick, it will attempt to breed again with a new mate. But the first two mates usually breed together during the next breeding season.

The Snares (Island) Snipe has been extirpated in the past from most part of its original range. But today, this species is living on predator-free subantarctic islands and the declines have ceased.
However, they have very restricted range, but the population is slowly increasing thanks to successful translocations. The population of the Snares (Island) Snipe was estimated at 1000 mature individuals in 2013, with about 400 pairs on the Snares Islands, and at least 500 birds on Putauhinu Island in early 2013. In addition, the translocated birds were breeding on Codfish Island in late 2012.
But currently, the Snares (Island) Snipe is still considered Near Threatened.

Fr : Bécassine des Snares
Maori : Tutukiwi
Ang : Snares (Island) Snipe - Snares Snipe
All : Snares-Schnepfe
Ita : Beccaccino delle Snares
Nd : Snaressnip


Rod Morris
Courtesy of Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, 2014
Department of Conservation

Title: Snares Island snipe standing on tussock, Snares Island
Photographer: Morris, Rod
Date: 1983
Description: Snares Island snipe standing on tussock, Snares Island, November 1983

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 3 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN : 8487334202

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

New Zealand Birds Online

Department of Conservation

Notornis and Birds New Zealand

Breeding ecology of Snares Island Snipe by COLIN M. MISKELLY

New Zealand bird status between 2008 and 2012

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia


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Snares (Island) Snipe
Coenocorypha huegeli

Charadriiformes Order – Scolopacidae Family

The Snares (Island) Snipe was formerly a subspecies of the Subantarctic Snipe (C. aucklandica) but it is now a full species. The Maori name “Tutukiwi” alludes to its resemblance, both in appearance and habits, to a small Kiwi of the family Apterygidae.
This species has suffered numerous local extinctions in the past, due to the usual introduced predators. However, thanks to translocations of birds to some predator-free islands, the population of the Snares (Island) Snipe is slowly increasing.

Length: 22 cm
Weight: M: 100 g – F: 115 g

The adult has darker plumage than the other New Zealand snipe species. It has compact body, and relatively short bill and legs.
On the upperparts, the colour is very cryptic, mainly brown with bars, stripes and spots, ranging from creamy-white to blackish. The uppertail is heavily barred. The outer tail feathers are typically narrow and stiffened. This physical feature produces the characteristic whirring sound during the nocturnal flight displays.

The underparts are densely barred brown and buffy-white on lower breast, flanks and most part of belly. Chin and throat are whitish.

On the head, face and crown shows longitudinal buff and blackish stripes. The relatively short bill is slightly drooping. It is blackish with paler base of lower mandible. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are yellowish in male, and greenish in female.

Both sexes have similar appearance, but the female is slightly larger, her bill is slightly longer and the dorsal feathers have darker edges than in male.
The juvenile is duller than adults. It has greenish legs and its plumage is tinged grey.

Title: Snares Island Snipe standing on tussock, Snares Island
Photographer: Morris, Rod
Date: 1983
Description: Snares Island Snipe standing on tussock, Snares Island, November 1983

Courtesy of Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, 2014