Observation & study: The Greater Painted Snipes


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Introduction- The Greater Painted Snipe or Rostratulidae benghalensis is a member of the 2-species waders family Rostratulidae that also consist of the South American Painted Snipe (Nycticryphes semicollaris). Being members of the same family, both the Greater and South American Painted Snipe share many common features like their size (around 25cm long), boldly marked bodies and long bills but distinctive habitual and geographical differences set them apart.


A female snipe foraging in the marshes

The Rostratulidae benghalensis was featured in a Japan's 62 Yen, 1992 series of waterbird stamps.


Japan 62 Yen, Waterbird series stamp featuring the Greater Painted Snipe.

World Distribution- Africa (sub-Sahara region), Australia, Japan, Madagascar and some parts of Asia. It is considered amongst one of the rare species to be found locally.


(Left) A male snipe basking in the sun
(Right) A visibly brighter female, the Greater Painted Snipe is a sexually dimorphic species


Breeding- Unlike its South American cousin, the Greater Painted Snipe is a strongly sexually dimorphic species, which in layman's term means its females are usually brightly colored, and are the ones involved in courtship during breeding. The species adopts a role-reversal breeding strategy, the female will court a male to breed and in turn, leaving the male to incubate the newly hatched eggs where it will abandone the former and proceed in courting other males. That said, the birds (regardless of sexes) are often found to be closely nested with others in small groups so as to improve their chance of defending their territory when threatened.

<<Click this symbol to hear a female snipe's call
 

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Observations- Study on this species started in June 2004 with its discovery by my fellows, namely Harlequin and skfoo as featured in this thread. The current number of birds sighted in this habitat stands at 7, consisting of 3 females and 4 males (2 could be juvenile birds, ID unclear due to early hour lightings @ 5+am).


Staying still, a male snipe in the cover of an overgrowth


Evidentally not a good cover, spotting a female in such a cover is not as difficult compared to when they are properly hidden

Largely skittish, these birds flee with a short flight into nearby overgrowth at the slightest hint of a human nearby. Augmented by their marsh-like colors, these snipes are cunningly capable of staying VERY still in the cover of dense marsh plants to avoid detection.

They are observed to be avoiding the warmer part of the day, preferring to feed in the cool surroundings and the cover of darkness in early mornings. However, the recent increase in rainfall seems to be aiding the flow of food supply into the marshes, and at the same time, lowering the ambient temperature. This in turn brought about an increase of feeding activities into the late evening hours as observed lately.

Threats- Neighboring constructions that might in time encroach into the snipes' habitat are constantly threatening the survival of this species in Singapore. With a small, fragile population like the one we observed, I fear for the worst but is also hopeful that they will be able to adapt to other parts of our island so that their existence here will not dwindle like other species long gone from our list of avian found in Singapore.

For your comments and viewing pleasure :)
 

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Phil: That's not unexpected, hehe. :sweatsm: SK's suffering from back ache while as for me, I have a swollen knee with abrasion, didn't realise that until I was about to take a bath. :D

Garion: Thanks, I enjoy writing and studying these subjects as much as sharing the info with fellow nature lovers here ;)
 

ccplim

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Great documentation (with sound somemore) :thumbsup:

I feel like I am watching animal planet :)
 

MatthewSL

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great info! another great series from u! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

jbma

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Well done Avatar. I sure enjoy and value te information that you've provided. I am trying to learn more about nature.:thumbsup:
 

ccplim

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jbma said:
Well done Avatar. I sure enjoy and value te information that you've provided. I am trying to learn more about nature.:thumbsup:
I am thinking that instead of letting these wonderful threads wondering around, why not we make it as a form of sticky thread or atricles so that we, or any other newbie nature lovers can refer back to them as and when we need it.
 

MatthewSL

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ccplim said:
I am thinking that instead of letting these wonderful threads wondering around, why not we make it as a form of sticky thread or atricles so that we, or any other newbie nature lovers can refer back to them as and when we need it.
I couldn't agree more :thumbsup: clubsnap shd stick all these wonderful threads around for all 2 refer! good idea! :thumbsup:
 

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Thank you jbma, ccplim and MatthewSL for your input. :)

I will discuss your proposal with fellow Mods megaweb, chngpe01 and also the admins to see what we can do to improve in the quality of CS's World of Nature. ;)
 

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