WatchList Species Account for American Woodcock
(Scolopax minor)

Qualifies for the list as a Yellow List Species


Photo: USFWS

A species of forests and openings, the woodcock is widespread in eastern North America. Its preferred habitat is a complex of open fields and clearings and wet woods and thickets; the bird moves between the wooded areas during the day and the open areas at night. From 1966 to 2000, the Breeding Bird Surveys indicate its populations are declining at an anuual rate of 1%.


The American Woodcock is a very popular upland game bird. Approximately two million are shot annually by about 700,000 hunters, but it is unclear whether or not hunting has had an effect on its population trends.


The bird's region-wide decline is more likely due to changes in land use, including draining bottomland hardwoods and swampy areas, and a decrease in the rate of change of farm land into early successional woodland.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has created an American Woodcock Management Plan, designed to provide good habitat and thus increase or at least maintain its numbers.