Tuesday, May 23

Greater painted-snipe

   ›      ›   Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis

The greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) belongs to the family of painted-snipes, Rostratulidae.

The greater painted-snipe species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, southern China, Japan, southeast Asia and Africa. These painted-snipe species are polyandrous and show reverse sexual dimorphism. These painted-snipes are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Greater Painted-snipe Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Greater painted-snipe - Overview

  • Scientific name: Rostratula benghalensis
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Rallus benghalensis Linnaeus, 1758
  • Family: Rostratulidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Greater painted-snipe, Chinese: 彩鹬, French: Rhynchée peinte, German: Goldschnepfe, Spanish: Aguatero bengalí, Russian: Цветной бекас, Japanese: タマシギ, Indonesian: Berkikkembang Besar
  • Other names: Common Greater Painted-snipe
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, southern China, Japan, southeast Asia, Africa
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, invertebrates, snails, worms, seeds, paddy, plant matter
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is closely related to Australian painted-snipe (Rostratula australis).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is a medium sized wader, measuring 20 to 30 cm in length and weighing 90 to 200 grams. The wingspan is 50 to 55 cm.

These is sexual dimorphism in these greater painted-snipe species. The females are larger and more brightly colored. The male has pinkish golden eye patch and the female has white eye patch. The wings are rounded and have buff spots. There is a crown stripe.

The female greater painted-snipes have a distinct black band across the breast which has a central white band. In males the breast band is paler and grayer. The band ends as pale brown streaks on the back. The sides of the head, neck, nape and throat are deep chestnut in females.

The bill of greater painted-snipe is long and slightly down curved at the tip. It is reddish brown at the base and pinkish towards the tip. The irises are brown. The legs are long and pale grayish green. The painted-snipe call is a metallic, drawn-out hooting and guttural "ook" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis
Birds of India - Image of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis by Jason Thompson

Birds of India - Photo of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis
Indian birds - Picture of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis by Jason Thompson

Indian birds - Image of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis
Birds of India - Photo of Greater painted-snipe - Rostratula benghalensis by Frans Vandewalle

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The greater painted-snipe species are distributed in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Central and southern Africa, Madagascar and Egypt.

In India, the greater painted-snipe species are distributed in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Ecosystem and habitat

These greater painted-snipe species do not normally occur in forests. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 1800 meters. The artificial ecosystems of these painted-snipe species include seasonally flooded agricultural land, irrigated agricultural land and irrigation canals.

The natural ecosystems of these greater painted-snipe species include wetlands with floating and emergent vegetation, tropical and subtropical flooded grasslands, wetlands in tropical and subtropical lowlands, intertidal salt marshes, freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and peatlands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these greater painted-snipe species is mostly insects. Insects, small molluscs, worms, larvae, beetles, seeds, paddy and plant material are their primary food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these greater painted-snipe species is from March to June in west and central Africa. The breeding season is from the last weeks of June, with the onset of monsoon, and ends in the last weeks of August in Kerala, South India.

The greater painted-snipe species are polyandrous and show reverse sexual dimorphism. Soon after laying eggs, the female deserts the male, leaving him with the task of incubation and care of the chicks.

Migration and movement patterns

The greater painted-snipe species are partially migrant birds.

In greater painted-snipe species, short distance migratory movements were recorded in China and Japan. In rest of the range these birds are resident. Nomadic movements of painted-snipe were observed in Africa corresponding to feeding and breeding habitat requirements.

Post breeding, the painted-snipe juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is estimated to be around 31,000 to 1,000,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these painted-snipe species is considered to be decreasing. Throughout its range it is reported to be uncommon. The generation length is 8.6 years. Its distribution size is about 90,900,000 sq.km.

The greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion, or under the population size criterion. The ongoing draining of wetlands, habitat destruction and fragmentation and hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these painted-snipe species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the painted-snipe species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Rostratula benghalensis
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Rostratulidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Rostratula
Species:R. benghalensis
Binomial name:Rostratula benghalensis
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greater_Painted-snipe_(Female).jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Jason Thompson | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/23/17
2.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79492850@N00/8622658084 (cropped)
Photo author: Jason Thompson | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/23/17
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/snarfel/6885373276/ (cropped)
Photo author: Frans Vandewalle | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 as on 5/23/17
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