Gallinago gallinago | Common Snipe | Naoscach



Conservation status

This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result.

Severe declines have been recorded in Snipe breeding and wintering populations in Ireland, resulting in its move to the Red-List in the most recent BoCCI assessment (Gilbert, Stanbury and Lewis, 2021).

According to the last IUCN Red List assessment in 2016, the Snipe is a species of ‘Least Concern’ on a global scale. However, a decreasing global population trend was noted. 

Species Biology


The Snipe is a medium-sized wader with speckled brown upperparts and white underparts.

It has a long, straight bill and short legs compared to other waders.

The Snipe is quite elusive and often remains undetected unless startled and flushed from its hiding spot.

The Snipe stands at 23-28 cm in length with a wingspan of 39-46 cm and a weight range of 80-120 grams. 


The Snipe is an omnivorous species that feeds on plant material such as seeds as well as invertebrates such as worms and insect larvae.


This ground nesting species finds suitable breeding habitat where there is grassy tussocks within or adjacent to boggy areas. Bogs and wet grassland can be suitable habitat for this species.

Suitable wintering habitat includes wetland habitats, wet grassland and lowland lake shores.


Between late-March and late-June, the female Snipe lays a clutch of four eggs, each weighing approximately 16.5 grams, and incubates them for a period of 18-20 days.

The young will fledge after 19-20 days.

A typical wild snipe has a life expectancy of around three years with breeding occurring at two years.


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

The decreasing resident population is bolstered in the summer by visitors from Western Europe and western Africa. Additionally, winter visitors from Scotland, Iceland and the Faeroes can be found.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Gilbert, G., Stanbury, A. and Lewis, L., 2021. Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 4: 2020-2026. [online] Wicklow. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Jun. 2021].