Tag Archives: Gallinago gallinago

Birds on poles

Jaðrakan – Black-Tailed Godwit – Limosa limosa

In May moorland birds claim their territories and defend and guard them if intruders venture too near. To survey their territory these landowners often perch on hills, rocks or fence poles to get a better view.

Stelkur – Redshank – Tringa totanus

In the lowlands in South Iceland fence poles are popular for these observations and used a lot by Black-Tailed Godwits, Common Snipes and Redshanks.

Hrossagaukur – Snipe – Gallinago gallinago

Leucistic Snipe

Hrossagaukur – Snipe – Gallinago gallinago

This Snipe is not at all what we are used to. A genetic mutation is to blame for pigment not being deposited in the feathers, a condition called leucism. Leucistic birds usually have a light or almost white plumage, sometimes with spots but unlike albinism the bill and feet  have some coloring.

Leucistic Snipes are very rare but a few occasions are known in the last few years e.g. in the Westman Islands and in Tjörnes, in the Northeast.

Just an ordinary Snipe

Last year a white Snipes was spotted south of Hveragerði and again  last week in the same area . Most likely this is the same bird as last year.

Wintering Snipes

Hrossagaukur – Snipe – Gallinago gallinago

These three Snipes were huddled together in a small spring water creek near Ellidavatn, outside Reykjavik, after last weekend´s massive snowfall.

The Snipe is a common breeding bird in Iceland and most migrate to West Europe in the winter time. Some decide to stay for the winter, keeping to warm creeks and spring water that does not freeze. That is the place where they are sure to find food even in the harshest of weathers.