Woodcock Bird as Inhabitant
The woodcock is established throughout Europe, excepting for the most northern regions. Inhabitants of western and southwestern Europe stay for the winter, those from other areas travel to countries bordering the Mediterranean — Spain and France being the chief winter haven of these birds. From the middle of March to April the woodcock returns to its breeding grounds in lowland woods, mostly deciduous or mixed forests.
Bird Information and Facts
Woodcock bird is bulky, snipe-like wader of moist, open woodland. Well camouflaged by brown and buff bars creating a ‘dead leaves’ effect. Hardly ever seen on the ground but the occasional bird may be flushed from the nest. In flight, Woodcock is in bulky shape, long, down-pointed bill and board, rounded wings diagnostic. mainly nocturnal. Territorial display flight (roding) at dawn and dusk.
Length: 34 cm. The male and female have like plumage. The young are striped reddish-brown.
Weight: Circa 300 grams.
Voice: During the courting season the male utters a soft croaking ‘orrrt-orrrt’ and a sneeze-like ‘tsiwick’.
Size of Egg: 40.1—49.0 X 31.6 – 36.4 mm.
Status: Woodcock bird is a resident virtually throughout Britain and Ireland; some immigration from the Continent in winter.
Similar Species: Common Snipe has a longer bill, is smaller and slimmer and lives in a different habitat.
|Habitat||forests and woods|
|Behavior||walks, takes off or land on ground|
|Flight||strong and powerful; direct|
|Voice||shrill tssick flight note when roding|
|Crown||buff, transverse black bars|
|Upperparts||dark brown and buff, bars and stripes|
|Rump||brown and black|
|Tail||brown and black; short and rounded|
|Breast||buff and brown, barred|
|Belly||buff and brown, barred|
|Bill||buff, very long and thin|
|Legs||pink; short and stout|
Woodcock as a family
The birds’ pair following a courtship display, in which the hen sits on the ground and entices the male by spreading her tail, which has a conspicuous white patch, and at the same time uttering a special cry. As soon as he sees or hears her, the male descends rapidly to the ground and hops around the hen in a sort of dance. Sometimes two males arrive at the same time, and soon become involved in combat.
In April, and often for a second time in June, the female lays 4 eggs in a shallow scrape in the ground, lined with a few leaves and moss. The young hatch after 20 to 23 days, and as soon as their down has dried leave the nest, remaining close to the hen.
|Nest||leaf-lined hollow on ground|
|Eggs||4; buff, blotched brown|
How Woodcock gather its food?
The woodcock gathers its food (insects, their larvae, molluscs and worms) on the ground, often probing among soft soil and leaves with its long beak, which is provided with special sensory cells to signal the presence of its prey.
The woodcock is hunted at twilight, and though it is not an important game bird its meat is considered a great delicacy.