Australian Painted Snipe
The Australian Painted Snipe is a stocky wading bird around 220–250 mm in length with a long pinkish bill. The adult female, more colourful than the male, has a chestnut-coloured head, with white around the eye and a white crown stripe, and metallic green back and wings, barred with black and chestnut. There is a pale stripe extending from the shoulder into a V down its upper back. The adult male is similar to the female, but is smaller and duller with buff spots on the wings and without any chestnut colouring on the head, nape or throat (D. Ingwersen 2007, pers. comm.; NSW NPWS 2006).
This species is generally seen singly or in pairs, or less often in small flocks (Marchant & Higgins 1993). Flocking occurs during the breeding season, when adults sometimes form loose gatherings around a group of nests. Flocks can also form after the breeding season, and at some locations small groups regularly occur. Groups comprising of a male and up to six offspring have been observed (D. Ingwersen 2007, pers. comm.; Marchant & Higgins 1993).
The Australian Painted Snipe generally inhabits shallow terrestrial freshwater (occasionally brackish) wetlands, including temporary and permanent lakes, swamps and claypans. They also use inundated or waterlogged grassland or saltmarsh, dams, rice crops, sewage farms and bore drains. Typical sites include those with rank emergent tussocks of grass, sedges, rushes or reeds, or samphire; often with scattered clumps of lignum Muehlenbeckia or canegrass or sometimes tea-tree (Melaleuca). The Australian Painted Snipe sometimes utilises areas that are lined with trees, or that have some scattered fallen or washed-up timber (Marchant & Higgins 1993).
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