There is little information concerning differences in migration chronology between male and female Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and virtually no accounts of sex-related differences in winter habitat use. We collected 372 Common Snipe in five different habitat types during the non-breeding period along the central Gulf Coast of Texas. Proportions of male and female snipe collected on wintering areas during the beginning of the fall period (i.e., between 6 and 21 October) indicated a tendency for females to arrive ahead of males. Sex ratios during the latter part of spring (16 March–10 April 1998) suggested male snipe leave wintering areas before females. During the winter period (14 November 1997–4 February 1998), female snipe were more common than males along the Texas Gulf Coast. Differences in sex ratios during winter are likely due to sex-related differences in habitat use. During winter, females were more common than males in heavily vegetated habitats (e.g., coastal marshes and cultivated rice fields). Conversely, males were more common in open habitats (e.g., mud flats). Male snipe may begin spring migration before females to establish territories on the breeding grounds. Sex-specific differences in winter habitat use may be related to reverse sexual size dimorphism of Common Snipe.
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Vol. 112 • No. 1