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American Woodcock

February 12, 2023 3 min read

American Woodcock

Scolopax minor, American woodcock is a shorebird found in North America and also known as 

  • Timber doodle
  • The hokum poke
  • Night partridge 
  • The Labrador twister
  • Brush snipe
  • Becasse 
  • Mud bat
  • The bog sucker

The bird is known to camouflage well with leaf litter and is the only woodcock species in America. Belonging to the family Scolopacidae they are mostly classified along with sandpipers, but there are notable differences.

Pc: Pixabay

Body Features of American Woodcock:

Body Appearance and Body Color:

They have a plump rotund shape body, with short legs, long bill and large head. The American woodcock has a buff-salmon belly with a complex arrangement of the upper parts. The body is a mix of black, gray and brown, while the top of head is black and the sides are more of a yellowish color and three to four crossbars of rufous move down from the head. 

Legs and Feet:

The legs are weak and small and are reddish brown in color. 


On their head they have large eyes, an American woodcock known to have a vision of 360° because of the position of their eyes. Even while searching for food in the soil they can look for the danger coming from the sky. 

Body Size and Body Weight:

The small bird has a body size of 30 cm and with a body weight of 300 g. They have a long bill of 7.1 cm and wings of 48cm widthFemales are usually bigger than males.

Life span:

In the wild environment, they live 8-10 years as it is reported that the oldest American woodcock was shot at the age of 11 years. 

Reproductive Cycle:

They reproduce in spring, incubation period in 20-22 days, and the female releases 3-4 eggs. The young ones start taking small flights after 2 weeks of hatching. 

Some Cool Behaviors Of American Woodcock:

During their reproductive time in summers and spring,  the birds produce a certain kind of noise called “peent” and males also produce “sky dance” with chirping and twittering sounds and twisting flies.

Habitat and Distribution of American Woodcock:

American woodcock are considered to be the migratory birds and prefer the wet and moist forests, bushy swamp which provide them dense and thick cover. They inhabit forest and agricultural mixed areas so they can easily feed themselves. 

Pc: Pixabay

They are distributed in the eastern side of North America. Being the migratory birds they are known to spend their breeding months in southeastern Manitoba, western North Carolina, northern Tennessee, Kentucky, northern Illinois, Missouri, northern Virginia, and eastern Kansas. While in winters they are present in Mexico, Alabama, Georgia,  southeastern Atlantic coastal states as well as the Gulf of Cost of the United States

Feeding behaviors of American Woodcock:

American woodcocks mostly probe the moist soil for their food in the thickets so they feed themselves while remaining hidden. They feed on invertebrates, earthworms, snails, insect larvae, centipedes, spiders, millipedes, beetles, snipe flies, ants in terms of plants they feed on plant seeds and grains. They exhibit rocking movements to disturb worms from vibrations so they can easily pick with the flexible tip of their bills. 

American Woodcock Hunting Guide:

Pc: Pixabay

The migratory birds head back to the north in February and the hunting passion emerged among hunters as their flyways extended from Canada to Texas. The bird is active at night so the best time to chase this upland bird is around 10 to 11 pm, when they take flights. Mississippi is considered as the best state to target American woodcock.

While we talk about hunting gear for American woodcock it may be simple, a shotgun with suitable chokes will be perfectly fine, it's your choice to go on woodcock hunting with or without a dog. You need extra comfortable and protective clothing. For warm and budget friendly winter clothing please check our Lelex Shop.

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