Adults are smaller than Common Snipe and have relatively shorter bill. Length is 18-25 cm (7.1-9.8 in), wingspan is 30-41 cm (12-16 in) and weight is 33-73 g. The body is mottled brown on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye. The wings are pointed and narrow, and yellow back stripes are visible in flight. The head pattern of Jack Snipe differs from Common Snipe and other species in the genus Gallinago, in that there is no central crown-stripe; instead, there are two pale lateral crown-stripes, which are separated from the supercilium by an area of dark plumage.

Habitat and Distribution

Jack Snipes are migratory, spending the non-breeding period in Great Britain, Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal Europe, Africa, and India. Their breeding habitat is marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows with short vegetation in northern Europe and northern Russia.


They forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and earthworms, also plant material.


They nest in a well-hidden location on the ground, laying 3-4 eggs.