Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Aequorlitornithes
Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Limicoli
Family: Rostratulidae
Ridgway, 1919

Painted-snipes are three distinctive wader species in the family Rostratulidae. The family is composed to two genera, Rostratula and Nycticryphes. The Australian Painted-snipe is often treated as a subspecies of the Greater Painted-snipe, but morphological and genetic differences have resulted in the species being split in recent years.[1] While they superficially resemble true snipes, they are considered to be more closely related to the jacanas.[2]

File:Rostratula benghalensis P6176083.jpg

Greater Painted-snipe (Female)

The painted-snipes are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but their plumage is much more striking. There is sexual dimorphism in both size and plumage, with the males being duller overall and smaller. All three species have large forward pointing eyes, and painted snipes are crepuscular or even slightly nocturnal in their habits.[2]

The breeding biology of the painted snipes varies according to genus; the Rostratula painted snipes are generally polyandrous whereas the Lesser Painted Snipe is monogamous. The females of the genus Rostratula will bond with several males during a breeding season, but once the eggs are laid the males provide all the incubation and parental care. The nest of both species is a shallow cup, often built on a platform of vegetation. Clutch sizes range from 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 15-21 days.[2]

All three species live in reedy swamps and marshes, usually in lowlands. Outside of the breeding season they are generally solitary in habits. They are omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates and seeds. Animal prey taken includes annelid worms, snails, aquatic and marsh insects, and crustaceans. The seeds of grasses such as millet and rice are also consumed, and may form a major part of the diet of some populations.[2]

At present two species, the South American and Greater Painted-snipes, are not considered threatened by human activities; however, The Australian Painted-snipe has declined and is considered endangered in Australia. [3]



  1. ^ Christidis, Les; Boles, Walter (2008). Systematics and taxonomy of Australian Birds. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-643-06511-6.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (1996). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-20-2
  3. ^ a b Lane, B.A.; & Rogers, D.I. (2000). "The Australian Painted-snipe, Rostratula (benghalensis) australis: an Endangered species?". Stilt 36: 26-34

External links


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