Despite the name, Greater Painted-Snipes are not related to true Snipes. They belong to the Rostratulidae family of Painted-Snipes. They are shy birds, often found skulking on the edges of reed beds, swamps, marshes and streams. Interestingly, the species is reverse sexual dimorphic. The males are duller and smaller than the female. The females initiate courtship, the males take care of egg incubation and parental duties.
It was probably only last month when I caught my first glimpse of this species, it was only a fleeting view as it flushed from a dried field. Last week, I got incredibly lucky to have an extended encounter, observing it within 5 metres. It was at my old home, in a rice paddy. The outside perimeter has the occasional slit, allowing a very limited view outside. I hit the jackpot as a pair of Greater Painted-Snipe were present in the narrow window.
With the nature of a narrow viewing window, at times there was slight obscuration on the lens. Previously, when I paying for Lightroom, I would have utilised the ‘de-haze’ feature. These days I’m using the free photo software and contrast was an alright alternative. I was very glad the Painted-Snipes stuck around, didn’t get scared and didn’t flush.
They were so close that you could enjoy their presence without any optics. I was lucky enough to watch them foraging, preening and also taking a bath in the shallow waters. The field they were in was left fallow, so it became a swamp which is very favourable for many species. It was no coincidence I had my first encounter of Watercock on the same day.
The location is really amazing for birdwatching, whenever I visit I always wonder if we really have to sell the property. Given the numerous rice fields, irrigation channels with scrubby plant growth and reed beds; it plays host to all sorts of birds – many of which I haven’t seen yet. As the sun was descending in the sky, I saw three Pink-necked Green-Pigeons across the field. Two males had a brief fight before a male and female settled on the tree.
You can bet on it being a long time until I get another view, as good, of Greater Painted-Snipe. Unless I get lucky at the same spot. Saving the best for last, here is the video I shot of one of them:
All images and video © 2022 hamsambly