Rostratulidae – Painted Snipe
The Rostratulidae or painted-snipes, form a family of wader species, composed of two genera: Rostratula and Nycticryphes. At present two species, the South American Painted-snipe and Greater Painted-snipe, are not considered threatened by human activities; however, the Australian Painted-snipe has declined and is considered endangered.
The painted-snipes are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but their plumage is much more striking. There is sexual dimorphism in both size and plumage, with the males being duller overall and smaller. All three species have large forward pointing eyes. They generally inhabit reedy swamps and marshes, usually in lowlands. Outside of the breeding season painted-snipe are generally solitary in habits. They are crepuscular or even slightly nocturnal in their habits. They are omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates and seeds. Animal prey taken includes annelid worms, snails, aquatic and marsh insects, and crustaceans. The seeds of grasses such as millet and rice are also consumed, and may form a major part of the diet of some populations.
Their breeding biology varies according to genus; the Rostratula painted-snipes are generally polyandrous whereas the lesser painted-snipe is monogamous. The females of the genus Rostratula will bond with several males during a breeding season, but once the eggs are laid the males provide all the incubation and parental care. The nest of both species is a shallow cup, often built on a platform of vegetation. Clutch sizes range from 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated for 15 to 21 days.
The IOC say that this family consists of just three species, which are:
Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis
Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula australis
South American Painted Snipe Nycticryphes semicollaris
ShorebirdsAn Identification Guide to the Waders of the World by Pter Hayman, John Marchant and Tony Prater - Helm 1986 ISBN: 0713635096 Buy this book from NHBS.com
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