Belongs to: winter waders

Compare with: snipe

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola

Also known as: snipe of the woods

Best time to see: early Jan to end Dec

Key facts

A secretive wading bird found mainly around the fringes of woodlands, perfectly camouflaged against leaf litter

Widespread as a breeding bird in British and Irish woods, but in long term decline

In autumn there is a large influx of birds from northern Europe, outnumbering the resident population by 5 to 1


Chunky birds, predominantly mottled brown, with short legs and a very long straight bill

Most active at dawn and dusk, hunting for large insects and probing the ground for worms

Most often seen when flushed into rapid flight or, between April and June, in its breeding display flights (roding)

© Ronald Slabke