The woodcocks are a group of seven or eight very similar living species of wading birds in the genus Scolopax. The genus name is Latin for a snipe or woodcock, and until around 1800 was used to refer to a variety of waders.[1] The English name was first recorded in about 1050.[2]

Long-billed bird sitting on grass with earthworm in its bill
Eurasian woodcock
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Scolopax
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Scolopax rusticola
Linnaeus, 1758
8 living species


Only two woodcocks are widespread, the others being localized island endemics. Most are found in the Northern Hemisphere but a few range into the Greater Sundas, Wallacea and New Guinea. Their closest relatives are the typical snipes of the genus Gallinago.[3][4] As with many other sandpiper genera, the lineages that led to Gallinago and Scolopax likely diverged around the Eocene, some 55.8-33.9 million years ago, although the genus Scolopax is only known from the late Pliocene onwards.[5]

Woodcock species are known to undergo rapid speciation in island chains, with the extant examples being the Amami woodcock in the Ryukyu Islands and the several species of woodcock in the Indonesian islands, the Philippines, and New Guinea. Subfossil evidence indicates the presence of another radiation of woodcock species in the Greater Antilles; these Caribbean woodcocks may have been more closely related to the Old World woodcock species than the New World ones, and were likely wiped out by human incursion into the region.[6]

Description and ecology

Woodcocks have stocky bodies, cryptic brown and blackish plumage and long slender bills. Their eyes are located on the sides of their heads, which gives them 360° vision.[7] Unlike in most birds, the tip of the bill's upper mandible is flexible.[3][8][9]

As their common name implies, the woodcocks are woodland birds. They 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 known as "roding", usually given at dawn or dusk.[3][9][10]

The range of breeding habits of the Eurasian woodcock extends from the west of Ireland eastwards across Europe and Asia preferring mostly boreal forest regions engulfing northern Japan, and also from the northern limits of the tree zone in Norway. Continuing south to the Pyrenees and the northern limits of Spain. Nests have been found in Corsica and there are three isolated Atlantic breeding stations in Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. In Asia the sites can be seen as far south as Kashmir and the Himalayas.


Some woodcocks being popular gamebirds, the island endemic species are often quite rare due to overhunting. The pin feathers (coverts of the leading primary feather of the wing) of the Eurasian woodcock are sometimes used as brushtips by artists, who use them for fine painting work.[11]


The following species of woodcocks are extant today:[3][10]

Fossil record

A number of woodcocks are extinct and are known only from fossil or subfossil bones.

  • "Scolopax baranensis" (fossil, Early Pliocene of Hungary; a nomen nudum)
  • Scolopax carmesinae (fossil, Early/Middle Pliocene? of Menorca, Mediterranean)
  • Scolopax hutchensi (fossil, Late Pliocene – Early Pleistocene of Florida, USA)
  • Scolopax anthonyi (prehistoric)[12]
  • Scolopax brachycarpa (subfossil, Holocene of Haiti)


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 351. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ "Woodcock". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c d Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John & Prater, Tony (1986): Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ISBN 0-395-60237-8
  4. ^ Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A. & Székely, Tamás (2004). "A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 4: 28. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-28. PMC 515296. PMID 15329156. Supplementary Material
  5. ^ Finlayson, Clive (2011). Avian survivors: The History and Biogeography of Palearctic Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 9781408137321.
  6. ^ "A new species of Woodcock (Aves: Scolopacidae: Scolopax) from Hispaniola, West Indies". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  7. ^ woodcock (bird) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Britannica.com. Retrieved on 2013-03-10.
  8. ^ Mousley, H. (1934). "The earliest (1805) unpublished drawings of the flexibility of the upper mandible of the woodcock's bill" (PDF). Auk. 51 (3): 297–301. doi:10.2307/4077657. JSTOR 4077657.
  9. ^ a b McKelvie, Colin Laurie (1993): Woodcock and Snipe: Conservation and Sport. Swan Hill.
  10. ^ a b Kennedy, Robert S.; Fisher, Timothy H.; Harrap, Simon C.B.; Diesmos, Arvin C: & Manamtam, Arturo S. (2001). "A new species of woodcock from the Philippines and a re-evaluation of other Asian/Papuasian woodcock" (PDF). Forktail. 17 (1): 1–12.
  11. ^ Dowden, Joe Francis (2007). The Landscape Painter's Essential Handbook. Newton Abbot, UK: David & Charles. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7153-2501-8.
  12. ^ Species of woodcock

External links

2006 Maine gubernatorial election

The Maine gubernatorial election of 2006 took place on November 7, 2006. Incumbent Democrat John Baldacci was re-elected to his second term. This was the last time a Democrat won statewide office in Maine until 2018, when Janet Mills won the gubernatorial election over Republican Shawn Moody.

In the general election, Baldacci, Woodcock, Green Independent Party candidate Pat LaMarche, and independents Barbara Merrill and Phillip Morris Napier appeared on the ballot.

American woodcock

The American woodcock (Scolopax minor), sometimes colloquially referred to as the timberdoodle, the bogsucker and hokumpoke. This bird is a small chunky shorebird species found primarily in the eastern half of North America. Woodcocks spend most of their time on the ground in brushy, young-forest habitats, where the birds' brown, black, and gray plumage provides excellent camouflage.

Because of the male woodcock's unique, beautiful courtship flights, the bird is welcomed as a harbinger of spring in northern areas. It is also a popular game bird, with about 540,000 killed annually by some 133,000 hunters in the U.S.The American woodcock is the only species of woodcock inhabiting North America. Although classified with the sandpipers and shorebirds in Family Scolopacidae, the American woodcock lives mainly in upland settings. Its many folk names include timberdoodle, bogsucker, night partridge, brush snipe, hokumpoke, becasse, twitterpate, little gomer, fiddle squeak, worm sabre, wafflebird, whipperwon't, bumblebee chicken, billdad, mud needle, prairie turtle, and crazy straw.The population of the American woodcock has fallen by an average of slightly more than 1% annually since the 1960s. Most authorities attribute this decline to a loss of habitat caused by forest maturation and urban development.

In 2008 wildlife biologists and conservationists released an American Woodcock Conservation Plan presenting figures for the acreage of early successional habitat that must be created and maintained in the U.S. and Canada to stabilize the woodcock population at current levels, and to return it to 1970s densities.

Eurasian woodcock

The Eurasian woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) is a medium-small wading bird found in temperate and subarctic Eurasia. It has cryptic camouflage to suit its woodland habitat, with reddish-brown upperparts and buff-coloured underparts. Its eyes are set far back on its head to give it 360-degree vision and it probes in the ground for food with its long, sensitive bill, making it vulnerable to cold weather when the ground remains frozen.

The male performs a courtship flight known as 'roding' at dusk in spring. When threatened, the female can carry chicks between her legs, in her claws or on her back while flying, though this is rarely witnessed. The world population is estimated to be 14 million to 16 million birds.

George Woodcock

George Woodcock (; May 8, 1912 – January 28, 1995) was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet and published several volumes of travel writing. In 1959 he was the founding editor of the journal Canadian Literature which was the first academic journal specifically dedicated to Canadian writing. He is most commonly known outside Canada for his book Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962).

Hawker Woodcock

The Hawker Woodcock was a British single-seat fighter built by the Hawker Engineering Company as the first fighter to be produced by Hawker Engineering (the successor to Sopwith Aviation). It was used by the RAF as a night fighter in the 1920s.

Hold Onto Our Love

"Hold Onto Our Love" is a single by Welsh singer James Fox, who was best known for his appearance as a contestant on the second series of the talent show Fame Academy in 2003. It was the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 entry for the United Kingdom.

John Woodcock (politician)

John Zak Woodcock (born 14 October 1978) is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Barrow and Furness since 2010. Woodcock was suspended and subsequently had the Labour whip withdrawn on 30 April 2018 following allegations of sexual harassment made against him. He then sat as an Independent Member of Parliament and on 18 July 2018 resigned from the Labour Party.

Leonard Woodcock

Leonard Freel Woodcock (February 15, 1911 – January 16, 2001) was President of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the first US ambassador to the People's Republic of China after being the last Chief of the US Liaison Office in Beijing.

Mr. Woodcock

Mr. Woodcock is a 2007 sports comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie, and starring Seann William Scott, Billy Bob Thornton, Susan Sarandon, Amy Poehler, and Ethan Suplee. The film was released on September 14, 2007 along with negative reviews.

Or (heraldry)

In heraldry, or (; French for "gold") is the tincture of gold and, together with argent (silver), belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals", or light colours. In engravings and line drawings, it is hatched using a field of evenly spaced dots. It is very frequently depicted as yellow, though gold leaf was used in many illuminated manuscripts and more extravagant rolls of arms.

The word "gold" is occasionally used in place of "or" in blazon, sometimes to prevent repetition of the word "or" in a blazon, or because this substitution was in fashion when the blazon was first written down, or when it is preferred by the officer of arms. The use of "gold" for "or" (and "silver" for "argent") was a short-lived fashion amongst certain heraldic writers in the mid-20th century who attempted to "demystify" and popularise the subject of heraldry.

"Or" is sometimes spelled with a capital letter (e.g. "Gules, a fess Or") so as not to confuse it with the conjunction "or". However, this incorrect heraldic usage is not met with in standard reference works such as Bernard Burke's General Armory, 1884 and Debrett's Peerage. Fox-Davies advocated leaving all tinctures uncapitalized. A correctly stated blazon should eliminate any possible confusion between the tincture or and the conjunction "or" (which is rare in blazons in any case), certainly for the reader with a basic competence in heraldry.

Sometimes, the different tinctures are said to be connected with special meanings or virtues, and represent certain elements and precious stones. Even if this is an idea mostly disregarded by serious heraldists throughout the centuries, it may be of anecdotal interest to see what they are, since the information is often sought. Many sources give different meanings, but or is usually said to represent the following:

Of jewels, the topaz

Of heavenly bodies, the Sun

Of metals, gold

Of virtues, Faith or obedience and gentility

Phar Lap (film)

Phar Lap (also released as Phar Lap: Heart of a Nation) is a 1983 film about the racehorse Phar Lap. The film stars Tom Burlinson and was written by David Williamson.

Thomas Woodcock (officer of arms)

Thomas Woodcock (born 20 May 1951) is the Garter Principal King of Arms.

Tony Woodcock (footballer)

Anthony Stewart "Tony" Woodcock (born 6 December 1955) is an English retired international footballer who played professionally in both England and Germany as a striker for Nottingham Forest, FC Köln and Arsenal. Woodcock won the European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) in 1979 with Nottingham Forest.

Tony Woodcock (rugby player)

Tony Dale Woodcock (born 27 January 1981) is a New Zealand former rugby union player. His position was loosehead prop, and he played 111 tests for the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. Woodcock played for the All Blacks from 2002 to 2015, scoring eight test tries. He was described by The Dominion Post as "widely regarded as the world's premier loosehead", and by The New Zealand Herald as having the "best range of skills of any prop on the planet". He is now the most capped All Black prop of all time, and is the second most capped player in Blues history, behind Keven Mealamu. He was a key member of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup winning squads, becoming one of only twenty dual Rugby World Cup winners.

Woodcock, Pennsylvania

Woodcock is a borough in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 157 at the 2010 census.

Woodcock (apple)

The Woodcock was one of the oldest described English varieties of cider apple. It originated in the West of England in the counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Woodcock Nature Center

The Woodcock Nature Center is a non-profit nature center located at 56 Deer Run Road in Wilton, Connecticut. The center is situated on 179 acres (0.72 km2) of state-protected land with 3 miles (4.8 km) of trails traversing a mixture of habitats, including woods with stands of maple, beech, oak and hickory trees, a pond and wetlands.The center's building houses of local and exotic snakes, frogs and lizards, as well as a few rehabilitated birds of prey that were too injured to be released back into the wild.

The center offers summer camp, after school and other programs for children and school groups.

Woodcock Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Woodcock Township is a township in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,856 at the 2010 census.

Woodcock–Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities

The Woodcock–Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities is a set of intelligence tests first developed in 1977 by Richard Woodcock and Mary E. Bonner Johnson. It was revised in 1989, again in 2001, and most recently in 2014; this last version is commonly referred to as the WJ IV. They may be administered to children from age two right up to the oldest adults (with norms utilizing individuals in their 90s). The previous edition WJ III was praised for covering "a wide variety of cognitive skills".


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