Aerial Displaying and Flying Ability of Chatham Island Snipe Coenocorypha pusilla and New Zealand Snipe C. aucklandica
90(1) 28 - 32
Chatham Island Snipe Coenocorypha pusilla and New Zealand Snipe C. aucklandica were studied intensively during one and six breeding seasons respectively, and observations of aerial displays and related behaviours recorded. Chatham Island Snipe gave three types of acoustic aerial displays. The displays were performed only at night. Type 1 was a strident monosyllabic call, also given in several contexts on the ground. Type 2 was a series of disyllabic calls identical to a common territorial display given on the ground. Type 3 began with a series of disyllabic calls and ended with a non-vocal 'roar' considered homologous to the 'drumming' displays of Gallinago snipes. Evidence for non-vocal acoustic displaying by three subspecies of New Zealand Snipe is discussed. The intensively studied Snares Island Snipe C. aucklandica kuegeli was not seen to give aerial displays. Chatham Island Snipe were flushed significantly more frequently and flew further than Snares Island Snipe, and had significantly lower wing-loadings. The aerial displays of Chatham Island Snipe were similar to descriptions of aerial disvlavs of the 'Chubbia' snipes of South America: Cordilleran Snipe Gallinago stricklandii, Andean Snipe G. jamesoni and Imperial Snipe G. imperialis.
© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1990