snipe, common name for a shore bird of the family Scolopacidae (sandpiper family), native to the Old and New Worlds. The common, or Wilson's snipe ( Capella gallinago ), also called jacksnipe, is a game bird of marshes and meadows. It has an unusual courtship dance, circling and diving in the air. The mud snipe or woodcock ( Scolopax rusticola ) is a nocturnal woodland bird. The eastern dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus, also called the red-breasted, or robin, snipe, frequents mud flats and shores, as does the long-billed dowitcher of W North America and South America (rare on the Atlantic coast). The European common snipe, found also in Asia and Africa, is similar to the Wilson's snipe. Snipes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Scolopacidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.