Painted Snipes at Berri SA

To: "Peter Waanders" <>, "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Painted Snipes at Berri SA
From: (Danny Rogers)
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 22:40:35 +1100 (EST)

Great to hear of yet another Painted Snipe record; this is an
extraordinarily good season for them (or at least, it is an extraordinarily
good year for birdwatchers to see them in). As some of you may have heard
through the grapevine or through the last Wingspan, Australian Painted
Snipes are something of a conservation worry and their reporting rates have
been declining for many decades. The Threatened Bird Network has launched a
modest project on them, the first step being to assemble a database of all
available records so we can analyse it and try to figure out where their
strongholds are and what patterns of movement they may show. The database is
currently has around 700 records of Painted Snipes - not that many
considering that the records are spread over a period of 163 years.
Admittedly we haven't found all records yet, but we reckon we might have got
80% of them. So even if the recent flush of reports leads to the impression
that a Painted Snipe sighting is run-of-the-mill, rest assured that it is
not, and it is well worth posting to birding-aus! It would also be very
handy if records of Painted Snipes could be sent to me or to the Threatened
Bird Network volunteers Steve Paton or Ian Hance

In answer to two good questions raised by Peter Waanders:

Is the Painted Snipe going to be a real split? A paper has been published
arguing that Australian Painted Snipes differ from the related Painted
Snipes of Asia and Africa in many important respects, and should therefore
be considered a full species: the Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula
australis.  The publication of such a paper doesn't make a split 'official'
but it is an important first step. The real test will be whether the
arguments are accepted by subsequent compilers of authorative taxonomic
lists of Australian birds. If Australian Painted Snipes are listed as a full
species in the next edition of the Christides & Boles species list, or in
the second volume of the Dircectory of Australian Birds being prepared by
Dick Schodde and Ian Mason, then I guess the split can be regarded as
'official' and it will almost certainly be followed in field guides and the
like. In the meantime I think serious life-listers would be well advised to
make sure they've seen both the Australian and Old World versions of Painted
Snipes! I find the paper arguing that our Painted Snipes are a full species
to be very convincing, but perhaps that is because I was a co-author. For
those who would like to read it and make up their own minds, the citation
is:  B.A. Lane and D.I. Rogers. 2000. The Australian Painted Snipe
Rostratula (benghalensis) australis: an endangered species? Stilt 36: 26-34.

Have there been any records from the Berri part of SA before? According to
our embryonic database, it's the first record from Berri, but there have
been three previous records from within 100 km (one in 1969, a couple in
1973). I should stress that our database isn't fully compiled and edited
yet,  but the general conclusion that a record from Berri is out of the
ordinary definitely seems justified. I hope the photos turn out nicely and
make it onto the Peter Waanders website.

Danny Rogers  (Co-ordinator, TBN Painted Snipe project).

Danny Rogers
340 Nink's Road
St Andrews
Victoria 3761

Ph/Fax: + (61) (03) 9710 1345

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU