Oriental Bird Images

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Swinhoe's Snipe Gallinago megala  
Swinhoe's Snipe
Photographer : © Amar-Singh HSS
Location :extensive ex-tin mining area with pond/lakes, wetlands, fish farming, Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia
Date : 2 March 2014
English synonyms:Chinese Snipe, Marsh Snipe, Forest Snipe
Bird Family :Scolopacinae - Snipes & Woodcocks
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :I saw this Snipe (apart from many others) and considered the Swinhoe's Snipe. It was paler in appearance and it also looked slightly more bulky than the others (no side to side comparison at the time). Unfortunately, no preening images or observations of the tail fanning. I considered the Swinhoe's Snipe and posted on the MNS Perak Facebook for an opinion. Also managed to video the bird. YouTube video here:

Dave Bakewell responded & suggested I consider the Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii, which of course has not been reported in the Peninsula. Dave Bakewell has been helping and one response from Danny Rogers in Australia, supports bird is likely to be a Swinhoe's. I have summarised his comments:
“My immediate impression was Swinhoe's. The long-looking shape seems to narrow it down to that species or Latham's. Features that don't match my mental image of Lathams include:
1. Leg colour. Latham's Snipe in Victoria most often has greyish-green legs, some can have yellowish legs. This bird has brighter legs than I've seen in Latham's, but the colour matches typical north-western Australian Swinhoe's pretty well.
2. Body bulk. Somehow, this bird looks small-bodied, though that was an impression that struck me more in the stills that the video. Latham's usually strikes me as deeper-breasted and bigger-looking bird. But it's a very subjective thing.
3. Flank barring. I think Latham's usually has more striking barring on the flanks, extending further onto the sides of the upper breast – the barring at the junction of the breast and belly patch often looks quite heavy in Latham's while in typical Swinhoe's the bars on the feathers of the lower breast are smaller and more convex, so the field impression is that the lower breast looks mottled rather than barred.”
- Amar

Taxonomic Notes :

Positive field separation of this species compared with Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura is currently regarded as impossible, unless the spread tail is seen well or photographed, due to considerable overlap of field characters. Images of these two species posted here are therefore tentative, reflecting the opinion of the photographer and do not imply endorsement by the editors. They are, however, considered useful for reference in case future research determines better ways of separating the two species.
Ref: Leader. P.J. and Carey, G.J. (2003). Identification of Pintail Snipe and Swinhoe’s Snipe, British Birds 96, No. 4, Pages 178 – 198.

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