American Woodcock

American Woodcock

American Woodcock
(Scolopax minor)

Order:  Charadriiformes
Family:  Scolopacidae

American Woodcock at Nest
Photo © NNE & its licensors

American Woodcock Information

Length:  10.5 - 11"

Habitat:  Moist, early-successional woodlands near open fields or forest clearings; abandoned fields, brushy forest openings, wooded edges of streams and ponds, brushy edges of open swamps.

Habitat requirements: Clearings for courtship displays and nighttime roosting. Areas of soft, moist soil containing earthworms and with overhead cover. Young, open woodlands for nesting.

Diet:  Earthworms (staple); insects, especially larvae of beetles and flies; spiders, millipedes, snails; some seeds and berries.

  Sounds of the American Woodcock

Additional Information

American Woodcock
Description, distribution, breeding and wintering range, diet, migration, nesting, habitat, and conservation status. Includes photos. (From Wikipedia)

American Woodcock Camouflaged

American Woodcock Camouflaged

© NNE & its licensors

American Woodcock
Identification Tips

  • Dumpy, short-legged, short-tailed, rounded-winged shorebird
  • Explosive takeoff when flushed, wings make twittering sound in flight
  • Very long bill
  • Very large, dark eye set high in head
  • Buff-brown head, breast and belly buff to pale cinnamon
  • Black nape crossed by pale lines
  • Dark eyeline and auricular stripe
  • Gray-brown back, with black and chestnut feathering interspersed between two pale V's
  • Upperwings reddish-brown; underwings brown, with rusty wing linings
  • Rusty rump; dark rectrices tipped gray/white
  • Found in woodlands and shrubby fields
  • Sexes similar
  • Juvenile similar to adult

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

American Woodcock Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The American Woodcock breeds throughout New England. The above BBS map does not reflect the true breeding range, possibly due to the difficulty in spotting this bird.

The woodcock winters mainly in the southeast U.S. It winters rarely on the coasts of Massachusetts and Maine.

Map from eBird

Year-round sightings of the American Woodcock (1900 - present)

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS