SPECIES: Rostratula australis — Australian Painted Snipe


Over the last 60 or so years, the population size of the Australian Painted Snipe - a medium-sized, stocky wading bird with a long, pinkish bill - has declined substantially, by as much as 90%. Characteristically secretive and conspicuous, these birds are difficult to detect on any given day anyway. They are generally seen singly or in pairs and are mainly crepuscular (active at dawn & dusk). Most common in eastern Australia and found more-often at freshwater wetlands - lakes, swamps and clay pans.

Genetic studies indicate that the Australian Painted Snipe is a species that diverged around 19 million years ago. Imagine that. At this point, the population size is pretty much unknown. It could be anywhere from a few hundred to five thousand, under threat from loss/degradation of habitat and predation by feral cats and foxes.

Photo: Aviceda

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