Hunting birds - Snipe

The Wood Sandpiper, or Scolopax rusticola, is a bird of the sandpiper family. It inhabits Europe, Siberia, Japan, Asia Minor and the Himalayas. It is found in Bulgaria in early and late autumn, and there are rarely any specimens that remain to molt and winter here.

Physical characteristics

The adult snipe reaches a length of up to 33 cm and a weight of up to 44 g. The wingspan is up to 65 cm. On the body it has a brown, black and grey colouration. This bird species has a long beak that makes it easily recognizable. It reaches up to 5 cm. An interesting fact is that the bird can also see backwards, because the viewing angle reaches up to 180°.


For nesting the bird prefers wet, deserted forests, bush areas, avoiding hot and dry habitats. In the non-breeding period it prefers forests, orchards, rivers, marshes and lakes. The Wood Sandpiper flies at night and rests during the day. It can fly up to 500 km in one night.


It feeds on earthworms, using its long beak to pull them out of the soft soil. It also prefers insects and small invertebrates. For plant food it prefers strawberries.


During the year, the woodcock has two broods, and after fertilization the male leaves in search of another mate. The female makes the nest directly on the ground under a fallen tree, near a stump or in bushes. She lays 2 to 6, usually 4 eggs and incubates them for 20 - 23 days. The young leave the nest immediately after hatching.

Conservation status

The species is listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria, but in certain favourable years its numbers allow shooting on a quota basis. It is allowed for hunting from 15 August to 28 February.