| The woodcocks are a group of seven extant very similar wading bird species in the genus Scolopax, characterised by a long slender bill and cryptic brown and blackish plumage. Only two woodcocks are widespread, the others being localised island species. Their closest relatives are the typical snipes of the genus Gallinago.|
These are woodland birds which feed at night or in the evenings, searching for invertebrates in soft ground with their long bills. This habit and their unobtrusive plumage makes it difficult to see them when they are resting in the day.
Most have distinctive displays, usually given at dawn or dusk. These are birds with stocky bodies and long bills. They have eyes set on the sides of their heads, which gives them almost 360° vision.
A number of woodcocks have become extinct long ago and are known only from fossil or subfossil bones. Due to their close relationship to the Gallinago snipes, the woodcocks are a fairly young group of birds, even considering that the Charadriiformes themselves are an ancient lineage.
American Woodcock, commonly referred to as a "Timberdoodle", is a North American game bird species.
The American Woodcock, Scolopax minor, is a small chunky shorebird. Adults have short pinkish legs and a very long straight bill with an articulated tip. The body is patterned cinnamon on top and a lighter brown underneath. They have large eyes located high in the head. The wings are rounded.
Their breeding habitat is wet wooded areas in eastern North America. They nest on the ground in an open wooded location.
The northern population migrates to the southern parts of its breeding range. Based on the Christmas Bird Count results, winter concentrations are highest in the northern half of Alabama. Their arrival date at the northern parts of their breeding range is highly irregular.
These birds forage by probing in soft soil in thickets, usually well-hidden from sight. They mainly eat earthworms and insects, also plant material. They are crepuscular, being most active at dawn and dusk. Woodcock young are precocial.
The male performs a high spiralling flight during courtship, generating a twittering sound as air moves through its wing feathers. These performances occur over open areas near feeding locations at dawn, dusk, and if the light levels are high enough on moonlit nights. The ritual may be repeated as long as four months running - sometimes continuing even after females have already hatched their brood and left the nest.
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