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Magellanic Snipe - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Dave Clark
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, January 11, 2012
Gallinago magellanica


  • Mottled whitish, buff and rufous on brown upperparts
  • Pale underparts with fine mottle and/or stripes
  • Long straight dark bill
  • Dark eye stripe
  • Light stripes above and below eye
  • Pointed wings
  • Tail with white tips
  • Short yellowish legs

Similar species

Looks very similar to Pantanal Snipe but differs in sounds given on breeding grounds. These two species mostly do not overlap in their range except maybe during southern winter. Possibly helpful in view is more rufous and less black on the upperside and more buff with less noticable markings on the underside of Magellanic Snipe.


Breeds from central Chile and central Argentina south to Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands; southernmost populations are migratory, nonbreeding distribution unclear but reaches Uruguay.

Photo © by crispash
Falkland Islands, March 2005


This is a monotypic species[1].

Magellanic Snipe and Pantanal Snipe were formerly considered one species under the name of South American Snipe (originally, Puna Snipe was also included).


A variety of wetter habitats including flooded fields, steppe, and pampas, edge of marshes, as well as peat bogs and swampy woods.




This species gives two types of vocalization from the ground during breeding season. The first consists of repeat of one element repeated at 3 elements per second, while the second consists of alternating two different elements at about 4 elements (two of each) per second. Additionally, it produces a winnowing that increase gradually in duration and amplitude (strength of sound) over each element, but each element consists of two non-identical parts and in total, this produces a stuttering quality to the winnowing.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. A paper describing analysis of sounds from Pantanal Snipe and Magellanic Snipe
  3. Van Gils, J., P. Wiersma, G. M. Kirwan, P. C. Rasmussen, and P. F. D. Boesman (2021). Magellanic Snipe (Gallinago magellanica), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. C. Rasmussen, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.soasni3.01

Recommended Citation

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