Jack snipe

   ›      ›   Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus

The jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) belongs to the family of sandpipers, curlews and snipes, Scolopacidae.

The jack snipe species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, Europe, northern Asia, Africa and southeast Asia. This snipe species is the only member of the genus Lymnocryptes. These snipes are monotypic species.

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

Jack snipe - Overview

  • Scientific name: Lymnocryptes minimus
  • Species author: (Brunnich, 1764)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Scolopax minima Brünnich, 1764
  • Family: Scolopacidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Jack snipe, Chinese: 姬鹬, French: Bécassine sourde, German: Zwergschnepfe, Spanish: Agachadiza chica, Russian: Гаршнеп, Japanese: コシギ, Tamil: Korai Ullan
  • Other names: Eurasian Jacksnipe, European Jack Snipe, European Jacksnipe, Half Snipe
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, Europe, northern Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, larval insects, annelids, small snails, plant material
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) is the smallest snipe, measuring 15 to 20 cm in length and weighing 30 to 100 grams. The wingspan is 35 to 40 cm.

The upperparts of jack snipe are brown and heavily mottled. The underparts are paler. A dark stripe runs from the base of the bill through the eye. The wings are short and narrow. There are two yellow back stripes. The trailing edge of the wing is white.

There are two pale lateral crown-stripes. The irises are blackish. The jack snipe bill is pale grayish brown and the distal end is blackish. The bill is relatively short for a snipe. The feet are pale yellow. The jack snipes call is a series of “ogogogogogogog" and drumming sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus
Birds of India - Image of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus by Dûrzan cîrano

Birds of India - Photo of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus
Indian birds - Picture of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus by Nik Borrow

Indian birds - Image of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus
Birds of India - Photo of Jack snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus - egg by Didier Descouens

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The jack snipe species are distributed in northern Asia, northern Europe, southern and western Europe, Middle East, Mediterranean region, central Africa, Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia.

In India, these jack snipe species are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these jack snipe species in Russia are Yuzhskoe lake-land, Basins of the Schuchya and Khadytayakha rivers, Sysola river, Adovo-Chugrumski wetland, Lapland Biosphere Reserve, Kumikushski wetland and Lower Ob'.

The IBA of these jack snipe species in Finland are Värriö-Tuntsa, Saariselkä, Koilliskaira, Oulanka-Sukerijärvi, Luosto, Litokaira, Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju, Runkaus-Saariaapa-Tainijärvet and Kemihaara (Vuotos) mires and forests.

The IBA of these jack snipe species in Norway are Reisa, Øvre Pasvik and Øvre Anárjohka. The IBA in Sweden is Sjaunja. The IBA in Spain is Llobregat delta. The IBA of jack snipes in Italy is Migliarino-San Rossore.

Ecosystem and habitat

These jack snipe species do not normally occur in forest. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. The artificial ecosystems of these birds include seasonally flooded agricultural fields, damp pastures and water meadows.

The natural ecosystems of these snipe species are tropical and subtropical seasonally wet grasslands, margins of rivers and streams, intertidal marine marshes with emergent grasses, peatlands, marshes, swamps, bogs, floodplains, waterlogged mudflats and brackish wetlands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these jack snipe species is mostly earthworms. Adult and larval insects, annelid worms, small snails, aquatic plants and seeds are their primary food. They probe the soft mud with their bill for worms and insect larvae.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these jack snipe species is from May to August in most of the breeding grounds. These birds disperse into solitary pairs for breeding. The males perform aerial display during courtship and make drumming sounds by vibrating their modified outer tail feathers.

The breeding sites are selected in well-hidden hummocks of sphagnum moss or grass tussocks in open grassy wetlands, marshes, bogs and swampy grounds in northern taiga and tundra zones. The typical jack snipe clutch contains 3-4 speckled, pale yellow eggs.

Migration and movement patterns

The jack snipe species are highly migratory birds.

These jack snipes breed from May to August in northern Russia, north Norway, north Sweden, northern Finland, eastern Estonia and northern Belarus. Then the adults undergo a flightless moulting period close to the breeding grounds.

These snipe species leave the breeding grounds by the end of September for wintering in southwest Europe, Middle East, Mediterranean region, central Africa, Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. The return trip to the breeding grounds takes place in March and April.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) is estimated to be about 1,000,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these snipe species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be fairly common. The generation length is 5.4 years. Their distribution size is about 10,600,000 sq.km.

The jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) 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. Degradation of wetland habitats, hunting for food and sport hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these snipe species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the 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 jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Lymnocryptes minimus
Species:L. minimus
Binomial name:Lymnocryptes minimus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lymnocryptes_minimus.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Dûrzan cîrano | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128578170@N06/30401950252/in/photostream/ (cropped)
Image author: Nik Borrow | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 as on 5/3/17
3.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lymnocryptes_minimus_MHNT.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Didier Descouens | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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