The woodcock is an extremely fascinating bird to learn about. They are also known as the timberdoodle or the Labrador twister. There are eight species of the woodcock including American woodcock, Eurasian woodcock, Moluccan woodcock, Bukidnon woodcock, Amami woodcock, Javan woodcock, Sulawesi woodcock, and New Guinea woodcock. The most famous one is the American woodcock. American woodcocks can be found only in North America. However, this is only their habitat during the breeding season. During the winter, American woodcocks which are primarily North American birds, migrate to the Caribbeans. Other than American woodcocks which are North American in nature, there are also other species of woodcock.
Another bird like American woodcocks is the Eurasian woodcock that is found in abundance in the United Kingdom. All the different species of woodcocks are residents of moist habitats. This is the ideal habitat for earthworms as well. Since earthworms are the primary diet of these ground-dwelling birds, these moist habitats attract these birds with a moderate flight speed even more. They also reside in old fields that are empty.
Keep reading to know more about these ground dwellers who migrate in winter. For more similar content, check out cockatiel and robin.
What do they prey on?
Earthworms, flies, crickets, and centipedes
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
4.1-9.8 oz (116-279 g)
How long are they?
9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Brown and black
What are their main threats?
Humans and habitat loss
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Wetlands, marshes, farmland, and forests
North America (New York), the United Kingdom, Japan, East Indies, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia
American woodcock: Scolopax minor Eurasian woodcock: Scolopax rusticola
Woodcock Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a woodcock?
The woodcock is a type of bird. They are members of the shorebird and wader bird family.
What class of animal does a woodcock belong to?
Woodcocks belong to the class Aves.
How many woodcocks are there in the world?
The exact population of woodcocks has not been recorded. However, the population of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor) is known to stand at a whopping 50,00,000. In the United Kingdom, woodcocks have a breeding population of 55,000. On the other hand, the population that migrates to Britain stands at 15,00,000. Populations of the other types of woodcocks remain unrecorded.
Where does a woodcock live?
The woodcock has its geographic range in wetlands, marshes, farmland, and forests. The geographic range of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor) is restricted mostly to North America. They can be found in Canada and the United States like New York. American woodcocks may be spotted in the Caribbean range. Meanwhile, Eurasian woodcocks breed in Europe, Fennoscandia, and Russia. As opposed to migrating in the summer months, the Eurasian woodcock carries out migration to India or southern Europe in winter.
The Moluccan woodcock can be found in the islands of Obi and Bacan, whereas the Bukidnon woodcock resides in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Amami woodcock is restricted to the Amami Islands of South Japan. Java and Sumatra are home to the Javan woodcocks, and as the name suggests, Sulawesi Islands and New Guinea are home to the Sulawesi woodcock and the New Guinea woodcock respectively.
What is a woodcock's habitat?
The woodcock's natural range includes a moist habitat with abundant soil. Their range is adorned with rich and damp soil. These birds live in a range that has close access to freshwater bodies. They prefer to live within the range of slow-paced streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and other such freshwater sources. Woodcocks prefer a wetland range since these are home to earthworms which is the primary food for woodcocks. These birds can also be found in forests, as well as in a habitat with thick vegetation like shrubs and bushes. This species of bird can also be found in stands of alder, old fields, as well as empty farmlands. During dry months, the young and adults may be spotted in coniferous forests or their ground or soil.
Who do woodcocks live with?
Woodcocks are a solitary species of bird. This means that they live alone. However, these birds can be seen pairing up with the opposite gender of this species during the breeding season.
How long does a woodcock live?
On average, woodcocks have a lifespan of two years.
How do they reproduce?
Woodcocks are polygynous species which means that they mate with multiple partners. This species of birds attain sexual maturity at the age of one year. The end of February and the beginning of May marks the onset of the courtship period for these birds. In order to attract the mate or females, male woodcocks display a special flight for courtship during sunrise or dawn and sunset or dusk. This move is known as the sky dance. The male bird moves up in the air in a circle while chirping or twittering. Males also flap their wings while moving up followed by a quick descent by the males. The downward journey also follows a spiral path, but males give out a call instead of a chirp like when males fly up in the sky.
Female birds then take their pick from the number of males performing the sky dance. Males have multiple female partners. The female builds the nest before laying the eggs. She lays one to five young eggs per breeding season. These eggs are then incubated for a period of 20 to 22 days before the eggs hatch into young ones. After breeding, it is only the female who gives parental care to the young ones. There is no such sense of family in the male gender. The female is also not guarded by her partner or family. It is also the female who feeds her hatchlings. The young ones leave the nest just hours after hatching. However, they are dependent on their parents for a week.
What is their conservation status?
The bird conservation status of woodcocks is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Their conservation status is this because they not only have a huge population but their numbers are also stable.
Woodcock Fun Facts
What do woodcocks look like?
Woodcocks are birds with small statures and rounded fluffy bodies. Their plumage is a combination of brown and black feathers and brown beady eyes and a long pointy bill. Their heads are large in contrast to their short tail and neck. As per the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, their wings are quite long but they have a rounded appearance much like their bodies.
How cute are they?
Woodcocks are quite cute to look at. Their little, rounded bodies with a long bill make them look adorable.
How do they communicate?
Woodcocks communicate through the medium of sound, sight, and touch. These birds also communicate through the help of chemical signals. These birds have as many as four calls. Males have a very distinct call during breeding or mating. While doing the sky dance, the wings of males make a distinct twittering sound while they flap. Breeding calls are also given out as a sign of warning to others of their own kind. These sounds of breeding are usually seen in summer during the dusk or at dawn.
How big is a woodcock?
These birds measure about 9.8-12.2 in (25-31 cm) in length. They are over three times the size of a full-grown hummingbird.
How fast can a woodcock fly?
Although the accurate flight speed of the woodcocks is not known, such creatures of migration are known to have an average flight speed of 16-28 mph (26-45 kph).
How much does a woodcock weigh?
This bird weighs approximately 4.1-9.8 oz (116-279 g).
What are their male and female names of the species?
A male bird is called a cock while females are called a hen. A group of woodcocks is called a fall.
What would you call a baby woodcock?
A baby or young bird is called a chick.
What do they eat?
The primary food of woodcocks is comprised earthworms. Other invertebrates they eat as a part of their diet include millipedes, snails, and centipedes. The food of this bird also consists of ants, beetles, larvae of various insects.
Are they dangerous?
Woodcocks are not dangerous. This bird can give calls during flight to threaten or warn another bird. However, there is no record of this bird posing any threat to mankind.
Would they make a good pet?
Unfortunately, these North American birds do not make good pets. You can say that they are shy in nature when it comes to their description. These North American birds do not like to mingle with humans. Moreover, in most places, it is illegal to possess them.
Did you know...
Woodcocks are known to be great in taste. These birds are game birds which are seen as a target while hunting. They are known to have a strong taste. In fact, they are said to taste better than most other game birds.
Although woodcocks are a type of wading bird, they are not rare birds.
Woodcocks are ground dwellers and build their nest on the ground. Since this attracts more danger from other ferocious animals, the eggs of a woodcock have an appearance that easily camouflages with the ground.
Why do woodcocks walk funny?
Woodcocks are known to have a funny display of their walk since they add a distinct head and bill bobbing to their walk. This is seen while they forage for food. This display is done because the bobbing movement of their bodies makes insects move on the ground. As a result, this makes it easier for them to spot prey that is near them.
Are woodcocks endangered?
Woodcocks are not endangered as of now. In fact, these birds are listed as a Least Concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, the main threats to their population and bird conservation status are hunting and loss of habitat. These can drive the bird to near extinction in the distant future.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including north brown kiwi, or falcon.
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