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Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii   - Courtship display
Latham's Snipe
Photographer : © Amar-Singh HSS
Location :Nemuro Peninsula, East Hokkaido, Japan
Date : 11 June 2019
English synonyms:Australian Snipe, Japanese Snipe
Bird Family :Scolopacinae - Snipes & Woodcocks
Bird Group :CICONIIFORMES
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :Snipe tend to be secretive and quiet while on migrate but they are very visible and vocal at their breeding grounds, especially during courtship. The Latham's Snipe was easy to spot during our trip in June and we saw a number of courtship flight displays (usually April-June). The presumed males tend to seek a high vantage point, so as to be visible to the females; usually a utility pole (electrical pole, wire) or tree. They call loudly from the vantage point as well when in flight. I would consider their courtship display flights accompanied by advertising calls one of the wonders of the bird watching world; it has to be seen to be appreciated. The presumed male flies high up (30-40 meters) and circles around, calling out for 35-40 seconds or longer. The terminal end of the display is often a dramatic dive with an accompanying noise made by opening the tail feathers to cause air resistance. The bird may then continue then to call from the vantage point or even from the ground (observed twice). These displays are repeated. They often occur in the early morning or evenings (our observation as well) but are said to also occur at night. The calls made in flight are regular at 2-3 calls per second, from my recordings. Each call last 1-1.5 seconds and is a low frequency sound (described by various authors in different ways). There are also longer calls made at the beginning or end of the display that can last 7-8 seconds. Call recording here: https://www.xeno-canto.org/488222
-Amar
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