Woodcock

The Eurasian Woodcock 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 15 million to 16 million birds.

Eurasian Woodcock are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) and rarely active during the day unless flushed, when they fly off with a whirring wing noise. The flight is somewhat owl- or bat-like; Woodcock fly fast and direct while migrating or crossing open country, but fly erratically with twisting and fluttering once in woodland. They are usually solitary and migrate singly, but may congregate when weather or geographical conditions force them to do so.