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Meet the Limboto’s Greater Painted-snipe

Something interesting occured in the event Welcome Birds; Migrating Birds and the Beauty of Limboto Lake on 9 August 2015. The occasion itself was a collaboration event of the Komunitas Untuk Bumi (KUBU/Community for the Earth), Masyarakat Fotografi Gorontalo/MFG (Gorontalo Photography Society), Gorontalo Perupa/Goropa (Gorontalo Artists), Aliansi Jurnalis Independen/AJI (Alliance of Independent Journalists) Gorontalo, Forum Komunitas Hijau/FKH (Green Community Forum) and Japesda.

We were succeeded in monitoring the Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis).

The Greater Painted-snipe is rarely encountered in Sulawesi. First record was when R Bishop made observations in the Toraut area, near Bogani National Park, in 1999. This wader was recorded for the second time around 2005 by Marc Argeloo. Its appearance in Lake Limboto was the third record.

The Greater Painted-snipe belongs to the Rostratulidae family. Its distribution is widely-stretched from Africa and Madagascar, eastern of Pakistan to China, southeastern part of Russia and Japan, and to the south from South East Asia including the Philippines, Greater Sunda and Lesser Sunda (Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores) and Australia.

This species is rather small in size (25 cm), appears like other snipes but more colorful and plumper with a short tail. Its head and chest are dark chestnut brown with an eye-shaped white circle and yellow line in the middle of the crown, greenish back and wings with “V” mark on its back and long, thick, white line around shoulder to the lower parts. The male is smaller and has duller feathers, but more spots and a little yellowish. Its coat is speckled with gold, while the spots on the eyes are yellow.

The Greater Painted-snipes is generally quiet. Its habitats are the meadows, swamps, and rice fields. The diet is mostly of insects, snails and worms, but they are also forage on seeds, rice grains and grasses. Some authors refer to its population in Australia as a separate subspecies under the name R.b. australis.*