Jack Snipe

Lymnocryptes minimus (Brünnich, 1764) JS JACSN 5180
Family: Charadriiformes > Scolopacidae

Jack Snipe, Allan Drewitt

Much smaller than Snipe this winter visitor is seldom seen, its patterned plumage providing perfect camouflage in marshy grassland.

Also called the ‘half-snipe’ because of its smaller size, this species is a winter visitor, with most birds reported from October through to April. Historically hunted alongside Snipe, it was less popular sport thanks to its habit of flying quickly back to the ground.

Similar to the Common Snipe in behaviour and habits, Jack Snipe is almost certainly commoner than most realise. Only a few WeBS counts manage double figures but atlas projects show records are widely distributed across the UK.


Jack Snipe identification is often straightforward. The following article may help when identifying Jack Snipe.

related video

Identifying Common Snipe and Jack Snipe

A stocky brown bird rockets up from just in front of your feet, but is it a Common Snipe, or its rarer relative Jack Snipe? Let us help you tell the two apart.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Jack Snipe, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




Wintering Jack Snipes are associated with the coastal fringe and damp lowland wetlands and occur throughout the UK. Their secretive nature means they are probably under-recorded in many areas.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Since the 1981–84 Winter Atlas, the number of occupied 10-km squares has increased by 71% in Britain, but by only 29% in Ireland, a difference that may stem from the greater number of observers in Britain.


Jack Snipes are winter visitors, present from late September to April.

Weekly occurence of Jack Snipe from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Jack Snipe ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Jack Snipe, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Gobhrag-bheag
Welsh: Gïach Fach
Catalan: becadell sord
Czech: slucka malá
Danish: Enkeltbekkasin
Dutch: Bokje
Estonian: mudanepp
Finnish: jänkäkurppa
French: Bécassine sourde
German: Zwergschnepfe
Hungarian: kis sárszalonka
Icelandic: Dvergsnípa
Irish: Naoscach Bhídeach
Italian: Frullino
Latvian: vistilbe
Lithuanian: oželis nykštukas
Norwegian: Kvartbekkasin
Polish: bekasik
Portuguese: narceja-galega
Slovak: mociarnicka tichá
Slovenian: puklež
Spanish: Agachadiza chica
Swedish: dvärgbeckasin
Folkname: St Martin's/Half Snipe, Judcock

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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