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|Species: Scolopax minor|
The American Woodcock is a short and plump sandpiper with a long bill. They can reach up to 11 inches in length and have a wingspan of 18 inches. The birds plumage is speckled with a mixture of brown, gray, and black.
Habitat & Range
The American Woodcock occupies moist deciduous woodlands and open agricultural or urban fields. They nest and feed in young forests and use clearings for courtship displays and roosting.
The Woodcock is a migratory bird, primarily found in North America. Their range extends from the Northeastern regions of Canada to the southern edge of the United States.
The Woodcock feeds primarily on invertebrates,mostly earthworms and small insects. They can be seen bobbing back and forth in brushy thickets, where they probe the soil for worms.
They are most active at dawn & dusk, and males emit a nasal and buzzy “peeent”. Males also perform singing displays throughout the breeding season. In this courtship ritual the male makes a spiraling ascending flight, and sings melodically as he descends.
Woodcocks breed in early spring,laying their eggs in shallow depressions in leaf litter. Clutches can contain up to 5 eggs, and are incubated for 20-22 days. Young are well developed after hatching, covered in speckled down for camoflauge. They leave the nest shortly, feeding themselves after a few days and becoming independent shortly after a month.
Featured image by Ronald S