Historical information

The Latham's Snipe is the largest of the Snipe species in Australia. This species do not breed in Australia. They breed in Japan and on the east Asian mainland and migrate to south East of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. They are commonly found in small groups in freshwater wetlands or along the coast in areas with dense cover. These birds use their colouring to help them camouflage with the terrain which makes them very difficult to see.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

The Latham's Snipe has a distinctive long and straight bill with brown and cream coloured plumage. The colouring of this bird enables it to camouflage well with the terrain. The wings and tail are short. This specimen has been stylised on a wooden platform and has a paper identification tag tied to its left leg. it also has small brown glass beads for eyes. The eyes are set back on the head which is a rounded shape.

Inscriptions & markings

26c. /
Indian Snipe - /
Catalogue. page, 36. /