The genus Gallinago provides observers with difficulties in field identification, chiefly because of the rather similar general plumage patterns of snipes and their concealed lifestyle. Most views are of flushed birds flying away from the observer. Difficulties generally arise between large-looking Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and Great Snipe (Gallinago media) but emphasis on these two species should not preclude the possibility of other Palearctic snipes, especially the Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura), occurring as vagrants in western Europe. The inclusion of the Pintail Snipe in a popular European field guide has attracted the attention of observers to the species, but the brief description given there is of little use in the field. The small Jacksnipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) should not be discussed here, as it looks different due to the short beak and acts significantly different and also differs greatly when flushed from a Gallinago snipe.
The Pintail Snipe breeds widely across Siberia, from the western foothills of the Urals east to Anadyrland. Field identification on the ground is not easy as the distinctions between the Snipe and the Pintail Snipe on the ground are not so obvious as in flight. If the two species are seen together, however, the Pintail Snipe can be picked out by the buff stripes along the Continue reading Pintail Snipe: ID for a WP vagrant