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Woodcock Bird

Identification of Woodcock Bird

Woodcock Bird 1 Length: 33-35cm Wingspan: 45-51cm Call: "wurr'urr'urr'SpiSSp!"

Woodcock bird is a very plump and medium-sized wader, with broad rounded wings and a long bill for probing in soft mud. The legs of woodcock bird are short, and the eyes are set very high in the head, giving it 360-degree vision. The plumage is very cryptic, with reddish-brown upperparts intricately barred and marbled with black, white and buff, and dark-barred buff underparts, giving the effect of dead-leaf camouflage. The face is rather pale and plain, and the crown is patterned with broad blackish transverse bars.

Habitat of Woodcock Bird

Woodcock bird can be found throughout the year in broad-leaved, mixed and coniferous forests, with some undergrowth and shade, especially with soft boggy ground, streams and pools, and it can sometimes be found nesting in more open areas on bracken-rich moorland. Resident across our region, with continental birds supplementing the population in winter, when they can be found in scrub, urban cemeteries, gardens, reedbeds and thickets. Woodcock bird is crepuscular and secretive, usually only encountered when flushed or when 'roding'.

Song / call of Woodcock Bird

Woodcock Bird 2

Woodcock bird is not particularly vocal except on the breeding grounds, when males perform a display flight known as 'roding'. They patrol their woodland territories and beyond, often just at treetop height and flying level with a jerky flight on stiff wings with rapid wingbeats, the bill pointing down at 45 degrees. During this flight they regularly utter a strange combination of sounds, the most audible being a high-pitched (3-14kHz) "SpiSSp!", which is far-carrying, but at closer range some low (0.6-1,5kHz) croaking notes can be heard preceding this sneezing call, such as "wurr'urr'urr'rr'SpiSSpl". With a good close view, the woodcock bird can be seen to jerk its legs in time to the rhythm! Little-known calls occur between the sexes on the ground, such as "bibibibibib", plus the female may call down the roding male with a softer and quieter version of the male's roding sneeze, "iiiitz-iiiiitz psit". Birds chasing each other around may give a "plip'plip'pissp'psi'plip". The only call that seems to be heard at all seasons is a Snipe-like "scaap", given in flight.