This is a summary of Australian painted snipe Rostratula australis sightings
in the Wanganella area from November 2010 to February 2011
Wanganella has become Australian Painted Snipe Central with fifteen to
seventeen individual birds recorded over late spring and summer. They were
recorded as singles, pairs or family groups on a total of thirteen
The first sighting was on 23 November when a pair was recorded at the
Wanganella swamps (8 Mile Creek wetlands) south of Wanganella. On 27
November, two males and a female, plus a nest with four eggs were recorded
at this same spot. Three of these eggs are thought to have hatched and
young successfully fledged.
On 28 January six birds were located at another wetland about three
kilometers south of the nesting locality. Some of these were immature birds
with one adult female present. As the numbers correspond, these are probably
the nesting birds from 8 Mile Creek ? three adults and three immatures.
A single adult male was seen at night feeding in a table drain north of
Wanganella on 12 January and not seen again at that locality. This link is
to a photo of that bird. http://www.philipmaher.com/Austpaintedsnipe2.html
A group of five to seven painted snipe was located by Robert Nevinson on 22
February and despite an extensive search by Robert, his father John, Stuart
Rankin and me on 26 February these birds were not located on that day.
Subsequently, John saw two of this group, a male and a female, on 27
February at the original locality.
While Robert, John, Stuart and I didn¹t find the group we were searching for
on 26 February, we did see another three birds (two males, one female) at
another location north of Wanganella on that date. The behaviour of one of
the males suggested they had bred, i.e., a male circled us a number of times
in a similar fashion to the male at 8 Mile Creek swamp when young were
present. Hopefully this will be confirmed in coming weeks.
Good numbers of Australian painted snipe should breed on the riverine plain
this season. Wetlands comprising tens of thousands of hectares are currently
spread across the plains. Every depression of lignum, nitre goosefoot and
canegrass is filled with water, providing good breeding habitat for painted
snipe. It is a bumper year for this stunning species.
Unedited video of the 12 January bird can be seen at
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