Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura


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). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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 is estimated to number c.50,000-2,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 2,000-5,000 pairs, which equates to 4,000-10,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). National population estimates include: c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; < c.1,000 individuals on migration and < c.1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes. The European population is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).

Distribution and population


Behaviour This species is fully migratory and travels over land on a broad front between its breeding and wintering grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from late-May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) after which it migrates in small flocks of 5-10 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species also overwinters in small groups (Johnsgard 1981). Habitat Breeding It breeds in Arctic and boreal wetlands up to 2,300 m above sea-level on damp meadows along river valleys (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996), in grassy and mossy swamps (Flint et al. 1984), swampy taiga forest (Johnsgard 1981, Flint et al. 1984), sphagnum bogs (Johnsgard 1981) and shrub tundra with patches of dwarf birch Betula nana (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding In its wintering range the species inhabits a wider variety of wetland habitats including flooded paddy-fields, wet grasslands, seepage swamps and marshland (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often foraging on the muddy shorelines of swamps and along streams (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of molluscs, adult and larval insects, earthworms and occasionally crustaceans, seeds and other plant matter (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depressionusually well-concealed in dense cover (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Utilisation The species is subject to hunting pressures throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's European range only: The species is not listed on priority lists of the Conventions.

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Hunting should be monitored and regulated to ensure it does not impact this species.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Gallinago stenura. Downloaded from on 25/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2021.