Giant Snipe Gallinago undulata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is regarded as local and uncommon in Colombia, and is nowhere common, but its nocturnal habits and extremely secretive behaviour might exaggerate the impression of its scarcity (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Distribution and population

This taxon exists in two forms: the nominate undulata occurs in two disjunct areas, one in Colombia, and the other from Venezuela through Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to extreme north-east Brazil; the race gigantea is found in eastern Bolivia, eastern Paraguay and south-east Brazil, and probably also in Uruguay and north-east Argentina (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It occurs in Reserva Natural del Bosque Mbaracayú and Golondrina Private Nature Reserve, Paraguay (Lowen et al. 1996), and all recent records for Venezuela have been from Canaima National Park and World Heritage Site (C. Sharpe in litt. 2003).


the species has been found in tall vegetation in swamps and flooded grasslands, and occasionally in dry savannas (Hayman et al. 1986), from the tropical zone locally up to 2,200 m (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It apparently also occurs in degraded habitat following forest clearance (J. Mazar Barnett verbally 1998). Its diet apparently includes frogs and it may feed only at night (del Hoyo et al. 1996). In Brazil, nests have been found in September and from November to early January; nests are generally placed on a small hillock between swamps, and 2-4 eggs are laid (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The movements of this species are very poorly understood, and it appears to arrive seasonally at some sites, apparently after rain (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


The species is reported to suffer severe hunting pressure in French Guiana, and may be hunted throughout its range, being apparently easier to shoot than some other sympatric snipes (del Hoyo et al. 1996, van Gils and Wiersma 1996), although it does not appear to be hunted in Venezuela (C. Sharpe in litt. 2003). Habitat loss is presumably a threat, at least in part of its range, as less than 5% of the Brazilian cerrado remained in a virgin state by 1988 (Cavalcanti 1988) with most of the destruction having occurred since 1960 (Collar et al. 1992).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Gallinago undulata. Downloaded from on 23/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2021.