Painted Snipe at Kaikondanahalli Lake

We’d taken our birder friend from Kerala to the Kaikondanahalli Lake. We were greeted by the spot-billed ducks and purple moorhens. And at twilight a big flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks took off (about 200); the sight and sound of a big whistling flock is quite a sensation. It was fairly dark when we reached the swamp area.

“Sandpipers” and a friend pointed to activity in the swamp. “Sandpipers” quicky turned to “ringed plover? Painted Snipe!”. We could hardly believe our luck. We did try our luck at shooting them too (Snipers, we are not!). We saw at least 3 females and a male.

I’ve uploaded a few images. One image shows both a male and female in one frame. The painted snipe is polyandrous; the female is larger and more colourful, though the male is no less beautiful! The painted snipe images were taken in virtual darkness and obviously lacking in quality. My Kaikondanahalli Lake album is at

We made another trip to see if it was a chance sighting and reached the lake well before sunset. With wagtails, egrets, sandpipers, common moorhens, waterhens, the swamp was abuzz. A Rosy Starling made a pastoral visit too. By dusk, most birds had made their way home. The waterhens stayed on with a “we live nearby, can go back late” attitude. As they also bade goodbye, we gave up and decided to trudge back home. But hope made our heads turn and squint our eyes ‘one more last time’. It seemed to be just a little rustle. A quick check with the binoculars and that beautiful painting showed up through the darkness. Contentment …

Maybe painted snipes are nocturnal? Those big eyes seem suited for late evening activity. Wikipedia helpfully notes that painted snipes are crepuscular or even slightly nocturnal in their habits (active primarily during twilight, dawn and dusk). It is also interesting to note that painted snipes are not closely related to true snipes!

The Painted Snipe sighting also brought out a negative thought. The Kaikondanahalli Lake Swamp’s days seem to be numbered too! There is fresh construction activity near the swamp. The trees in the swamp have been cut, and probably it is a matter of time before the swamp is filled up.
Maybe the fencing that is likely to come up between the jogging track and the swamp can be moved around the swamp.

We couldn’t spot the painted snipe on a Saturday morning trip (with SubramanyaCK). But there was plenty of bird activity. A Marsh Harrier, Paradise Flycatcher, a Cuckooshrike(?), Purple Moorhens, Oriole, Spot-billed Ducks, Lesser Whistling ducks, Sunbirds, Purple Herons,
kingfishers, an un-id warbler, etc. made our day. We made another evening visit last weekend and found the painted snipes still present in the swamp area.

This experience is shared by bird lover and resident, Rajesh Balakrishnan.

There are so many photographers running around the Kaikondanahalli lake on its bund to capture best snaps of their lives. Looks like any time is best except sunny time … suggested timing could be 6am to 9am and then 4pm till light-fails.

Request Note: Request all visitors to keep lake surroundings clean and green.

Email from Rajesh Balakrishnan

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