Gallinago Delicata – Wilson’s Snipe

Gallinago Delicata - Wilson's Snipe found in the US

Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata) is a little shorebird with a stocky build. Gallinago is New Latin for woodcock or snipe. It is derived from the Latin gallina, “hen,” and the suffix -ago, “resembling.” The particular epithet delicata means “dainty” in Latin.

Until 2003, this species was considered a subspecies of the common snipe, however not all authorities acknowledged this quickly.

Quick Overview: Gallinago Delicata – Wilson’s Snipe
Body size: Around 10- 11 in (25-28 cm) and a weight of 181 g (6.38 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Black, White, Yellow-Green
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Wilson’s Snipe Description

Brown and black mottled upperparts, buff striped back, white underparts, dark bars on sides and flanks, strongly streaked head, neck, and breast, and yellow-green legs and feet characterize this medium-sized sandpiper.

Gallinago Delicata - Wilson's Snipe found in the US
Gallinago Delicata – Wilson’s Snipe. Photo by: Becky Matsubara


These birds have a length of 10- 11 in (25-28 cm) and a weight of 181 g (6.38 oz). Their wings could range from 17-20 in (43-51 cm).


The majority are insects and earthworms. Consumes a variety of insects that burrow in damp soil or live in shallow water, including the larvae of crane flies, horse flies, and a variety of beetles. In some areas, the diet contains a large number of earthworms. Additionally, leeches, crustaceans, mollusks, spiders, frogs, leaves, and seeds are consumed.


Wilson’s Snipe is like wet, open areas such as muddy pond borders, moist pastures, and other wet, open habitats. Typically, these areas are densely forested, providing cover for these well-camouflaged birds.


Walking, Hopping, Climbing, and Other Activities Usually walks but is capable of running. The incubating female will walk to feeding locations within 70 meters of the nest but will fly to those farther away.

Gallinago Delicata Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae
  • Genus: Gallinago
  • Species: Gallinago delicata `

Best time of the year to see

 The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Wilson’s Snipe in the USA

Breeds throughout the northern United States and Canada, from subarctic Alaska to Quebec, and from Oregon to New England. Winters in California, the Mid-Atlantic states, and southern South America, as well as the West Indies.

The Wilson’s Snipe can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Gallinago Delicata – Wilson’s Snipe

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