Scolopax Minor – American Woodcock

Scolopax Minor - American Woodcock found in the US

The American woodcock (Scolopax minor), also known as the timberdoodle, bogsucker, hokumpoke, and Labrador twister, is a tiny shorebird found predominantly in eastern North America. Woodcocks spend most of their time on the ground in brushy, young forest settings, where their brown, black, and gray plumage provides good concealment.

Quick Overview: Scolopax Minor – American Woodcock
Body size: Around 11 in (28 cm) and a weight of 176 g (6.2 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Gray, Black
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

American woodcock Description

Woodcocks are mottled brown, rich buff, and gray in color, which helps them blend in well with their woodland habitat. Their heads are huge, with three dark black bands running the length of their backs.

Scolopax Minor - American Woodcock found in the US
Scolopax Minor – American Woodcock. Photo by: Fyn Kynd


These birds have a length of 11 in (28 cm) and a weight of 176 g (6.2 oz). Their wings could range from 18 in (46 cm).


Invertebrates are the primary diet of American woodcocks. Earthworms account for more than half of their diet, although they also consume beetles, flies, centipedes, and insect larvae. They consume seeds as well, albeit infrequently. In the spring and summer, American woodcocks eat during the day.


American woodcocks inhabit forested places with wide spaces. For woodcocks, a mix of new forests and abandoned farm fields is perfect. The habitat type varies according to activities and season. For singing grounds, woodcocks prefer regions with woody vegetation, whereas forest margins or areas with cover are preferred for feeding. They nest in a range of environments, including open fields, mixed woods, brushlands, and coniferous forests.


American woodcocks are solitary birds that are rarely observed during the day. They are most active between twilight and dawn, on moonlit nights, and occasionally on cloudy days. Additionally, they migrate at night, either alone or in tiny, loose flocks. Flocks may appear in city parks, yards, orchards, and on lawns during migration.

Scolopax Minor Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae
  • Genus: Scolopax
  • Species: Scolopax minor

Other common names

Also known as the timberdoodle, bogsucker, hokumpoke, and Labrador twister

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the American woodcock in the USA

The principal breeding area of this migratory bird includes southern Canada, Maine, and the Great Lakes region, extending as far south as central West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas are included in the winter range.

The American woodcock can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Scolopax Minor – American Woodcock

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