Ecology and status of Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola in Lamtang National Park, Nepal
220 – 225
1 December 21
Hari Basnet, Mohan Bikram Shrestha, Deelip Chand Thakuri, Tejab Pun, Dhiraj Chaudhary, Hem Sagar Baral
Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
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Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola is a rare and little known species that breeds in the Himalayan alpine regions. Despite being globally threatened, detailed information on its status and distribution are largely lacking and outdated. In Lamtang National Park, Nepal, we conducted call count surveys in 18 locations at dawn and dusk to estimate the local population size and distribution. In addition, we conducted sweep surveys through suitable habitats at the same 18 locations and counted the Wood Snipes that flushed. We estimated 19 birds calling from nine of 18 locations. As many as 14 calling birds were recorded from Lauribina area, and five from the Gosainkunda lake area. Although we flushed four Wood Snipes using the sweep counts, this method was not effective due to rugged terrain. Alongside bird surveys, we also conducted key informant interviews to assess stakeholder knowledge and their perception on the conservation of Wood Snipe. Local people recognized the species during the breeding season based on their distinct dawn/dusk call and long bill, and herders frequently sighted Wood Snipes because they shared common habitat with grazing livestock. We recommend dusk call counts after snipes reach the roosting sites (typically 30–45 min after sunset) during the second half of May and early June as the best field approach for population surveys in the Himalayas. Furthermore, the local herders in alpine pastureland can provide valuable information and even function as field surveyors, making their participation in the research and conservation of the Wood Snipe crucial.