Our Beautiful World

Australian Painted Snipe, Rostratula australis

Birds Australia’s (BirdLife Partner) Threatened Bird Network has announced that it’s time once again
to start looking for one of Australia’s most rare and cryptic wetland species;
the Endangered Australian Painted Snipe, Rostratula australis.

What kind of bird is that?

Australian Painted-snipe, Rostratula australis, Female
Samsonvale, SE Queensland, Australia
Photo: Aviceda

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 15-16 days.
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 in Queensland!
The population, now thought to stand at less then 1,500 individuals in Australia.

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/
and http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/our-projects/australian-painted-snipe.html

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 for
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.
Text above from http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/our-projects/australian-painted-snipe.html


over 250


over 500


over 225
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