By Crikey reporter Sophie Vorrath


If you think Latham’s snipes are all contained between the covers of the new Diaries, you don’t know a lot about wildlife. The real Latham’s Snipes are rare birds from the “Gallinago” genus, with long straight beaks and covered by yellowish white, yellowish brown, brown, and black feathers with a mottled effect.

Mainly spotted in Japan, Latham’s Snipes display themselves eagerly, says this Japanese bird preservation website, by “circularly soaring high in the sky while chirping ‘Zbyyak, zbyyak,’ then abruptly turning a nosedive by folding the wings, and within a hair’s breadth of the ground, making a turn to fly high up again. They repeat the movement awhile. ”

“At the time of nose-dive, they make a striking sound like, ‘Ga ga ga ga…’. It is not their cry but a sound made by the friction of their opened tail-feathers and the air… As they often put on those displays near farmland, people can easily recognise them, though their name may not be well known by people.”

Peter Fray

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