Introducing the Antipodes snipe
Written by Finlay Cox on Antipodes Island
The Subantarctic snipe species includes both the first New Zealand snipe to be discovered, and the most recent. The Auckland Island subspecies was discovered on Enderby Island in November 1840 during the Erebus & Terror expedition. The Campbell Island subspecies was not known to exist before a chance discovery on sheer-sided 20 ha Jacquemart Island in 1997. Following the eradication of rats on Campbell Island in 2001, this critically endangered snipe naturally recolonised the main island, completing a remarkable story of discovery and recovery within less than a decade.
Subantarctic snipe have long bills and legs and are longer than other New Zealand snipe species. The three subspecies differ slightly in size and markings Antipodes Island snipe are darker than Auckland Island birds above, and their plumage is more yellow than all other populations. Their diet includes soil-dwelling invertebrates obtained by probing below the surface.
Miskelly, C.M. 2013. Subantarctic snipe. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz
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