Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)

OTHER NAMES: Woodcock, Great snipe, Kevelek
Latin Etymology: Scolopax ("woodcock") rusticola ("rural inhabitant")
Adult Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) at Geddington Chase, Northants - December 2017

Weight: 240-420g
Length: 33-35cm
Wingspan: 55-65cm
UK RED LIST IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The woodcock is a species that manages to be abundant, but at the same time one of the most hard to catch up with in any meaningful way of all British species.  Although it is a member of the waders, it is a resident of woodland, where it uses it's long beak to probe into wet ground to find it's food.  It is also a species that is not only largely nocturnal but very well camouflaged and frequently only breaks cover at the last possible second - this bird here was in a ditch about 2 meters away from me, with me having no idea it was there until it burst forth for an instant before swooping off and vanishing again.  It's more readily seen on evenings at places where it breeds, where it has a distinctive "roding" call, although in other places it is best seen after snow in Winter, where they are both more conspicous and more likely to come into the open.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Scolopax
Subspecies: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Uncommon breeding (55,000 pairs) and abundant Winter visitor (1.4 million birds)
 - Migrant birds seen at Geddington during periods of snow.

Further Notes: Arkive, BirdForum Opus, BirdGuides, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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