Spotlight On Ohio Birds

American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)

Family: Scolopacidae

Order: Charadriiformes

Description: 11″ (28 cm) Adult has brown upperparts overall, but feathers on back and wings are adorned with narrow black lines. Note the gray-buff lines on edge of mantle and scapulars. Nape and rear of crown are marked with dark bars, and face and neck are otherwise rather pale gray. Underparts are orange-buff unmarked and this color extends to underwing coverts. They have a long pinkish bill.

Voice: Call is a buzzing, squeaking PEENT

Habitat: Widespread and locally common breeding species in damp woodland and brushy forests across much of Eastern North America.

Nesting: 1-12 eggs that are creamy buff with brown spots laid in a shallow depression in the ground.


FYI’s: The American Woodcock is one of the few shorebirds hunted for sport

Their bill has a flexible tip specialized for catching earth worms.

The male American Woodcock has an elaborate display to attract females. He gives repeated “peents” on the ground, often on remaining patches of snow in the early spring. After a time he flies upward in a wide spiral. As he gets higher, his wings start to twitter. After reaching a height of 70-100 m (230-328 ft) the twittering becomes intermittent, and the bird starts chirping as he starts to descend. He comes down in a zig-zag, diving fashion, chirping as he goes. As he comes near the ground he silently lands, near a female if she is present. Then he starts peenting again.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/


One response to “Spotlight On Ohio Birds

  1. I saw one of these last summer- its amazing how hard they are to spot while on the ground. They blend in amazingly well. And the beak is quite impressive!

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