Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 819–827 | Cite as

A hybrid snipe Gallinago gallinago × G. media found in the wild

  • Jacob Höglund
  • Stein Are Sæther
  • Peder Fiske
  • David Wheatcroft
  • John Atle Kålås
Original Article

Abstract

A hybrid snipe male was observed and caught in 2009 in the Norwegian mountains. We report behaviour, vocalizations, morphology, and genetic data for this bird. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences revealed that the hybrid had a great snipe mother and a common snipe father. The hybrid was intermediate in most measured morphometric traits and showed some intermediate plumage characteristics. The behaviour was similar to that of a great snipe—it displayed and vocalised at a great snipe lek for more than a week. The song was somewhat reminiscent of a great snipe's, but lacked the frequency-modulated whistles that are part of the great snipe song, consisting of more rapid click notes of a narrower frequency spectrum. This is the only putative hybrid that we have found among the more than 4,400 adult individuals we have examined between 1986 and 2014 at great snipe leks in Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Estonia. Common snipes invariably occur near these sites. Reports on putative hybrids among snipe species are very rare, and we question the validity of previous claims. This is the first where the parental origins—and, indeed, the hybrid status—have been unequivocally determined. We speculate on how a great snipe female, known for being extremely choosy about mating, came to mate with a common snipe male. We also note that, although perhaps behaviourally more likely, physical constraints on chick development (caused by the smaller egg size of the common snipe and larger body size of the great snipe) might prevent any successful male great snipe × female common snipe hybridisation—a possible example of an unidirectional post-zygotic barrier.

Keywords

Snipe Hybrid Behaviour Morphometrics Song Post zygotic isolation 

Zusammenfassung

Fund einer wildlebenden Hybrid-Schnepfe Gallinago gallinago × G. Media

Ein Männchen einer Hybrid-Schnepfe wurde 2009 in den norwegischen Bergen beobachtet und gefangen. Wir erfassten Verhalten, Stimme, Morphologie und genetische Daten dieses Vogels. Mitochondriale und nukleare DNA-Sequenzen zeigten, dass die Mutter des Hybriden eine Doppelschnepfe und der Vater eine Bekassine war. Der Hybrid war intermediär hinsichtlich der meisten morphometrischen Merkmale und zeigte zudem einige intermediäre Gefiedermerkmale. Das Verhalten war ähnlich wie das von Doppelschnepfen–der Vogel balzte und rief auf einem Doppelschnepfenplatz mehr als eine Woche. Der Gesang erinnerte etwas an Doppelschnepfe, es fehlten jedoch die frequenzmodulierten Triller, die Teil des Doppelschnepfengesanges sind. Der Gesang bestand zudem mehr aus schnellen Klicklauten mit engerem Frequenzspektrum. Dies ist der einzige mutmaßliche Hybrid unter mehr als 4,400 untersuchten adulten Individuen von 1986-2014 an Doppelschnepfenbalzarenen in Norwegen, Schweden, Polen und Estland. Bekassinen kommen überall in der Nähe dieser Gebiete vor. Beobachtungen mutmaßlicher Schnepfen-Hybriden sind sehr selten und wir bezweifeln die Gültigkeit früherer Bestimmungen. Dies ist der erste Vogel, bei dem der elterliche Ursprung und der Hybridstatus eindeutig bestimmt worden sind. Wir spekulieren darüber, wie ein Doppelschnepfen-Weibchen, die extrem wählerisch in Bezug auf ihren Brutpartner sind, sich mit einem Bekassinen-Männchen verpaaren konnte. Wir erwähnen auch, dass, obwohl vielleicht verhaltensmäßig eher wahrscheinlich, physische Grenzen der Kükenentwicklung (verursacht durch kleinere Eier der Bekassine und größere der Doppelschnepfen) eine erfolgreiche Doppelschnepfen-Männchen x Bekassinen-Weibchen-Hybridisierung verhindern könnten - ein mögliches Beispiel für eine einseitige post-zygotische Barriere.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Gunilla Engström provided assistance with laboratory analysis and Sten L. Svartaas with the fieldwork; Yvonne Meyer-Lucht provided a great deal of help with the final sequence editing. JH was supported by the Swedish Research Council.

Supplementary material

10336_2015_1154_MOESM1_ESM.mp3 (302 kb)
Supplementary material (302 KB)

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Höglund
    • 1
  • Stein Are Sæther
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peder Fiske
    • 2
  • David Wheatcroft
    • 1
  • John Atle Kålås
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and GeneticsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)TrondheimNorway

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