Wildlife in the Redlands -Australian painted snipe

Photo: Patrick Kavanagh

Scientific names: rostratula australis, rostratula benghalensis


  • National: Vulnerable (EPBCA 1999)
  • Queensland: Vulnerable (NCA 1992)

What does it look like?

The Australian painted snipe is a medium-sized shorebird with a long, slightly drooping bill. The adult female is more colourful with chestnut-coloured head, white crown stripe and metallic green back and wings. The adult male has duller colours and no chestnut colouring on the head.

Australian painted snipes’ nests are usually located on the ground or in low shrubs. Females lay three to four eggs, with both males and females incubating the eggs; however, males provide greater care for the young.

Where is it found?

The Australian painted snipe is sparsely scattered throughout all mainland Australian states. The key habitat area of the Australian painted snipe is the Murray-Darling drainage system.  

The Australian painted snipe nests in freshwater and brackish wetlands with muddy margins and small, low-lying islands, but has also been known to use artificial habitats including reservoirs, farm dams and inundated grasslands. This bird is listed as both a nomadic species temporarily occupying areas of suitable habitat (in southern states) and as residents.

What is threatening them?

  • Loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat
  • Reduced water
  • Invasion of introduced species
  • Grazing and vegetation removal for farming
  • Reduced water quality.


The Australian painted snipe is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is an offence to hurt or interfere with the Australian painted snipe in any other way than when accepted by the respective Acts.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and birds such as the Australian painted snipe.

Did you know...?

The Australian painted snipe is the only member of the genus rostratula to be found in Australia.

This bird feeds on insects, freshwater snails and worms from dusk to early morning – mostly in shallow water. It uses its long bill to probe the soft mud.

How you can help

If you have seen or suspect the Australian painted snipe at any location, please report it to IndigiScapes on (07) 3824 8611.