The American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), also known simply as Woodcock or Timberdoodle, inhabits forests, brushlands and agricultural areas throughout the United States and Canada. A migratory creature by nature, Woodcock spend the cold winter months in the south and return north in the spring to breed. During breeding season, males attract females by putting on an impressive courtship ritual that courtship involves the male flying hundreds of feet into the air and rapidly descending back to earth while loudly chirping. Hens, of breeding age, watch these impressive aerial displays and pick mates.
Once bred, the hen makes a nest on the ground comprised of leaves and twigs. Hens lay one to four eggs that hatch in about 20 days. The female woodcock care for the fledglings, feeding and warning them of danger, until they become self-sufficient at about five weeks of age. In the wild, those woodcock that survive predation by fox, coyotes and bobcats live to about 8 years of age.
The American woodcock posses a plump torso, short legs and large rounded head with unassuming body plumage in various shades of muted browns, grays, and black and a tan colored chest. More predominant identifying features include its large eyes and long prehensile bill. The eyes boast an incredible visual field larger than any avian species, while its unique bill is perfectly adapted to capture, its primary food source, earthworms.
The population of the American woodcock has been on a continual decline since the 1960s. Scientists attribute the decline to a loss of habitat, caused by urban development.
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What other names is the American Woodcock known by?
2. What is the primary habitat and range of the American Woodcock?
3. Does the American Woodcock migrate?
4. Where does the American Woodcock nest?
5. How long does it take for an American Woodcock egg to hatch?
6. How long does an American Woodcock live?
7. What are the predominant features of an American Woodcock?
8. What is the biggest factor in the declining population of the American Woodcock?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. The American Woodcock is also known simply as Woodcock or Timberdoodle.
2. The American Woodcock inhabits forests, brushlands and agricultural areas throughout the United States and Canada.
3. Yes, the American Woodcock spend the cold winter months in the south and return north in the spring to breed.
4. The American Woodcock nests on the ground.
5. American Woodcock eggs hatch in about 20 days.
6. An American Woodcock lives to approximately 8 years of age.
7. The predominant features of an American Woodcock include its large eyes and long prehensile bill.
8. The biggest factor in the declining population of the American Woodcock is loss of habitat caused by urban development.