- 9.8–12.2 in
- 16.5–18.9 in
- 4.1–9.8 oz
- Bécasse d'Amérique (French)
- The flexible tip of the American Woodcock's bill is specialized for catching earthworms. The bird probably feels worms as it probes in the ground. A woodcock may rock its body back and forth without moving its head as it slowly walks around, stepping heavily with its front foot. This action may make worms move around in the soil, increasing their detectablity.
- The American Woodcock is one of the few shorebirds that is regularly hunted for sport.
- The male American Woodcock has an elaborate display to attract females. He gives repeated "peents" on the ground, often on remaining patches of snow in the early spring. After a time he flies upward in a wide spiral. As he gets higher, his wings start to twitter. After reaching a height of 70-100 m (230-328 ft) the twittering becomes intermittent, and the bird starts chirping as he starts to descend. He comes down in a zig-zag, diving fashion, chirping as he goes. As he comes near the ground he silently lands, near a female if she is present. Then he starts peenting again.
- The male American Woodcock gives no parental care, but continues to display long after most females have laid eggs. Some males display at several, widely separated singing grounds and will mate with several females. A female may visit four or more singing grounds before nesting, and she may keep visiting even when she is caring for her young.
- Unlike many birds that leave their nests at hatching, newly hatched woodcocks cannot feed themselves. They are dependent on the mother for food for the first week. The chicks start to probe in dirt at three or four days after hatching.
Forests with openings, shrubby areas.
Invertebrates, especially earthworms.
- Clutch Size
- 1–12 eggs
- Egg Description
- Creamy buff with brown spots concentrated near large end.
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy chicks leave nest soon after hatching.
Shallow depression on ground.
Probes in dirt and leaf litter for worms.
May be decreasing in some areas as shrubby areas revert to forest.
- Keppie, D. M., and R. M. Whiting, Jr. 1994. American Woodcock (Scolopax minor). In The Birds of North America, No. 100 (A. Poole, and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.