Rostratula benghalensis Linnaeus, 1758, Asia. A study published in 2000 recommended that R. australis demanded species-level recognition. Two subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Painted snipe, African painted snipe; French: Rhynchйe peinte; German: Goldschnepfe; Spanish: Aguatero Bengalн. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 9–10.9 in (23–28 cm); female 3.2–6.7 oz (90–190 g), male 3.2–6.0 oz (90–170 g). Female has rufous head and neck with bronze-green upperparts and wings, whereas male has ashy-gray head and heavily goldenspotted upperparts. Both sexes have largely white underparts, pale eye patches, a crown stripe, and a mantle V. Juvenile largely resembles adult male.
Madagascar and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the Congo Basin. To the east, it also occurs through South and Southeast Asia, north to Japan and extreme southeast Russia, east through the Philippines and Indonesia. The form australis occurs in south Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and parts of Queensland, with sporadic records from elsewhere in north Australia and west Australia.
Lowland wetlands, including human-made and human-modified areas.
Solitary or in small groups. Chiefly crepuscular (active at twilight) and partially nocturnal.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Omnivorous, probing mud or wading in shallow water in search of insects, crustaceans, seeds, etc.
Polyanadrous or monogamous. Nests are usually solitary. Breeds year-round, chiefly following rains in Africa. Generally lays four eggs in shallow cup nest, concealed in marshy areas. Incubation, by male, 15–21 days, but fledging period unknown. Chicks precocial and leave the nest a short time after hatching; usually cared for by male alone.
Widespread, can range from uncommon to frequent, but often locally common. Formerly widely hunted, especially in European colonies. Declining in some areas due to wetland drainage and drought conditions. Australian population of serious conservation concern and may require IUCN listing as either Vulnerable or Endangered.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Principally known to sport hunters, but apparently of little significance to local human populations.
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