Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Bécassine des marais.

1 occurrence

A close relative of the Woodcock, the very secretive Snipe seems to have been considered a less important game bird and is mentioned only once by Shakespeare, where it is clear that this species is not worth the effort.

Iago, alluding to Roderigo, says:

For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane,

If I would time expend with such a snipe,

But for my sport and profit.

OTH 1 3 382-4

HARTING provides us with an interesting explanation:

That there was a good deal more "sport" than "profit" is extremely likely; for it is difficult to believe that the sportsmen of Shakespeare's day, with guns such as we have described, fired with either fuze or flint, could have successfully stopped the erratic flight of a snipe." There is no doubt that at the time snipes were taken in snares and nets.