Birds Australias (BirdLife Partner) Threatened Bird Network
has announced that its time once again
to start looking for one of Australias most rare and cryptic
the Endangered Australian Painted Snipe, Rostratula australis.
What kind of bird is that?
Painted-snipe, Rostratula australis, Female
The distinctiveness of the Australian Painted-snipe was recognised
by John Gould in 1838 when he described and named
it Rostratula australis. However, it was subsequently lumped with
the Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis
The head, neck and upper breast chocolate brown (in the male, dark
grey with a buff median stripe on the crown), fading to rufous in
the centre of the hindneck and merging to dark, barred grey on the
back. There is a cream comma-shaped mark around the eye. A white stripe
on the side of the breast and over the shoulders is diagnostic. The
upperwing is grey (with buff spots in the male). The lower breast
and underbody are white. Males are generally slightly smaller and
less bright than females. Juveniles are similar to adult males. No
call has been recorded.
The length ranges from 24 to 30 cm, the wingspan from
50 to 54 cm, the weight from 125 to 130 g.
They eat wetland invertebrates such as worms, molluscs,
insects and crustaceans; also seeds and other vegetation.
Breeding Painted-snipe prefer temporary but recently
flooded wetlands, with low cover for shelter, shallow water and
exposed mud for feeding, and small islands on which to nest.
They nest in ground scrapes or on mounds in water, lined with grass,
leaves and twigs, where they lay clutches of
3-4 cream-coloured eggs marked with black streaks. Incubation takes
The young are precocial and nidifugous.
Text above from Wikipedia
The Australian Painted-snipes often occur in small parties, sometimes
comprising one sex only. They usually sit quietly
beneath cover during the day, becoming more active near dusk, when
they begin foraging, and they may remain active
all night. Usually remaining in cover when foraging, where they skulk
about, Painted Snipe rhythmically bob their heads
downwards to probe the soft mud while they walk.
When disturbed, Australian Painted Snipe usually remain
motionless, and will not flush unless the observer is very close.
When flushed, Painted Snipe fly a short distance, usually keeping
low, with slow, erratic wing-beats
and legs dangling behind. They are usually silent.
After the spring/summer months
of 2009/2010 yielded sightings of only 11 individuals, signs are good
for the upcoming season with five birds already recorded at two sites
The population, now thought to stand at less then 1,500 individuals
The onset of heavy winter rains
throughout the Murray Darling Basin, the Channel Country and into
the interior this winter
could prove to produce a bumper breeding season for the Australian
Painted Snipe, as it has already been for other
opportunistic waders such as Banded and Black-winged Stilts. The rain
events of this winter will however, allow the birds
to remain dispersed, resulting in potentially lower detectability
to Australian Painted Snipe surveyors.
Text above: http://www.birdlife.org/community/2010/10/australian-painted-snipe-surveys/
It inhabits many different types of shallow, brackish
or freshwater terrestrial wetlands, especially temporary ones,
which have muddy margins and small, low-lying islands. Suitable wetlands
usually support a mosaic of low,
patchy vegetation, as well as lignum and canegrass.
Endemic to Australia, where it has been recorded in
all states, though only historically in Tasmania.
The Australian Painted Snipe is threatened by the
drainage of wetlands and the diversion of water from major rivers
irrigation, which prevents shallow wetlands from forming. A decline
in the Kimberley Division of Western Australia has
been linked with overgrazing and trampling by cattle.
above from http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/our-projects/australian-painted-snipe.html