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Scientific name: Scolopax rusticola

The Woodcock (Eurasian Woodcock), is a medium-small wading bird. Adults are 33 to 38 cm in length, including the 6 to 8 cm long straight bill, and have a 55 to 65 cm wingspan.

The Woodcock has cryptic camouflage to suit its woodland habitat, with intricately patterned reddish-brown upperparts and buff underparts. The head is barred with black, not striped like that of its close relatives, the Snipe. It has large eyes located high on the sides of its head, giving it 360-degree monocular vision. The wings are rounded and the base of the bill is flesh-coloured with a dark tip. The legs vary from grey to pinkish.
The species' required breeding habitat is large, unfragmented areas of broadleaved deciduous or mixed broadleaved and coniferous forest, with dense undergrowth of plants. Breeding territories must include a mix of dry, warm resting places, damp areas for feeding, and clearings for flight.

Eurasian Woodcocks are crepuscular and rarely active during the day unless flushed, when they fly off with a whirring wing noise. Woodcocks fly fast and direct while migrating or crossing open country, but fly erratically with twisting and fluttering once in woodland. They are usually solitary.

The male performs a courtship display flight called 'roding' at dusk between April and June. Flying over the treetops with flickering wings and downward-pointing bill, it utters several deep croaks followed by a sharp squeak.

Information and photograph courtesy of