Woodcock

WoodcockWoodcock — The woodcocks are a group of seven or eight very similar living species of wading birds in the genus Scolopax. Only two woodcocks are widespread, the others being localized island endemics. Most are found in the Northern Hemisphere but a few range into Wallacea. Their closest relatives are the typical snipes of the genus Gallinago.

Woodcocks have stocky bodies, cryptic brown and blackish plumage and long slender bills. Their eyes are located on the sides of their heads, which gives them 360° vision. Unlike in most birds, the tip of the bill’s upper mandible is flexible.

As their common name implies, the woodcocks are woodland birds. They feed at night or in the evenings, searching for invertebrates in soft ground with their long bills. This habit and their unobtrusive plumage makes it difficult to see them when they are resting in the day. Most have distinctive displays known as “roding”, usually given at dawn or dusk.

All woodcocks are popular gamebirds; the island endemic species are often quite rare already due to overhunting. The pin feathers of the woodcock are much esteemed as brushtips by artists, who use them for fine painting work. The pin feather is the covert of the leading primary feather of the wing.

Species

  1. Eurasian Woodcock
  2. Amami Woodcock
  3. Bukidnon Woodcock
  4. Dusky Woodcock
  5. New Guinea Woodcock
  6. Sulawesi Woodcock
  7. Moluccan Woodcock
  8. American Woodcock

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