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During epic migrations, great snipes fly at surprising heights by day and lower by night


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Don't let the great snipe's pudginess fool you. A stocky marsh bird with a 20-inch wingspan, great snipes are also speedy marathoners that can migrate from Sweden to Central Africa in just three days, without even stopping to eat, drink, or sleep. Now, researchers find that the snipes also rise nearly 2,500 meters in elevation at dawn and descend again at dusk each day, perhaps to avoid overheating from daytime solar radiation by climbing to higher, cooler altitudes. The findings appear June 30 in the journal Current Biology.

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