This uniquely shaped shorebird is plump, round-winged. long-billed, and appears to lack both a neck and a tail. The long bill is pinkish, with a black tip. The eyes are set far back on the head to allow the bird to see behind it as well as in front. The upperparts are finely mottled black, brown, buff, and gray, with pale gray lines running down the mantle. The head shows a series of dark brown bars running across the crown. The underparts are a uniform buffy cinnamon color.
Length: 25 (cm) Wingspan: 46 (cm)
During breeding season, males make a nasal peent call from the ground. In flight and during courtship display, the narrow outer primaries on males produce a whistling sound.
Breeds very early in the spring. Males perform courtship flights at dusk.
Probes moist soil and leaf litter for earthworms.
Woodcocks walk in a cartoon-like fashion, see-sawing back and forth with each step. I have video of one crossing a road during the winter in Cape May, NJ, during a hard freeze when they would be driven out into the open to search for food.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
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