Adult © Samuel Paul Galick
Adult © Chris Wood
Adult © Simon RB Thompson
Adult © Chao Jimmy Wu
+ 3
Adult © Simon Best
Adult © Jonathan Eckerson

American Woodcock Scolopax minor

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Plump, well-camouflaged shorebird that favors wooded or shrubby areas, usually near open fields. Plain buffy-salmon belly distinctive; also note intricately patterned upperparts with broad gray stripes down the back. Goofy-looking expression with huge dark eye placed high and far back on head. Extremely long bill used to probe the ground for worms. When flushed from dense cover, listen for high-pitched wing twittering and note rotund shape and long bill. Might be confused with Wilson’s Snipe, but woodcock is not nearly as dark and patterned. Fairly common throughout eastern North America, but secretive and rarely seen well in daytime. Always on the ground, except during well-known elaborate courtship display performed from dusk to dawn in spring. Listen for loud nasal “PEENT!” calls from the ground and high-pitched chirps and twitters (produced by the outer wing feathers) from high in the sky.