Image: Steve Round
The snipe breeds in wet flushes on moorland, damp pasture and at the edges of watercourses.
The range in the UK declined by 19% between 1970 and 1990*. The main reason for the decline on farmland has been the drainage of grassland and moorland.
*Data source: British Trust for Ornithology
Wet ground and tall vegetation for nesting from April to July
The snipe breeds in wet areas with tussocky vegetation 10-30 cm tall. Even small, wet field corners can be used.
Soft, damp soil for feeding
The snipe feeds mainly on earthworms, leatherjackets, beetles and caterpillars. Young chicks are generally fed on earthworms collected by the parents around the nesting site.
Wet areas, ditches and drains
Wet flushes, boggy areas and damp, rough grassland can be retained or re-created by avoiding or minimising new drainage, and by blocking grips and drains where this is feasible. Even small wet flushes, created by blocking one field drain, can be very valuable.
Maintain or create suitable nesting habitat along the margins of watercourses with light grazing, preferably by cattle, from late summer.
On unimproved pasture
Last updated: 26 November 2008
What snipe need and how they can be encouraged to your farmland.