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Wilson's snipe

Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Photo ©

Features and Behaviors

Wilson’s snipe is about 10 and three-tenths to 10 and one-half inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). The bill is very long. The back feathers are brown with buff-colored stripes. The head has stripes, too. In flight, the short, orange-red tail can be seen. The species migrates statewide, but some of the birds also nest in the state. A few individuals may overwinter statewide, too.

Spring migrants begin appearing in February. Southward migrants may start arriving in Illinois in late June. They live in wet, grassy areas, on mudflats, in wet fields and in roadside waterways as well at sewage lagoons and natural springs in winter. Earthworms, insects and plants make up the diet.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae

Illinois Status: common, native