Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Linnaeus, 1758

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Eurasian Woodcock Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A round-shaped woodland bird with broad, rounded wings, a long, straight, thick bill and short legs.

Colour Pattern

This is a brownish bird with dead-leaf pattern on upperparts, broad dark subterminal tail band, dark bars on rear-crown and unmarked forehead. Its underparts are evenly barred on yellow-brown ground colour.


An extremely difficult bird to see due to its camouflaged colour and crepuscular habits. Rarely seen on the ground, if disturbed it flies off quite low with loud wing noise. Its flight is quite quick and straight, dashing away in zigzags.


It is a typical woodland wader with mixture of low-growing plants, open areas, muddy ditches and streams or ponds. In Madeira is normally associated with ponds or streams in woodlands above 700 meters of altitude.

Distinction from similar species

It can be mistaken by Snipe species, such as Common Snipe or Great Snipe though it has a slower flight and less zigzagged than Snipes and does not have the pale stripes on head.

Scolopax rusticola Biometrics

Wingspan: 56 - 60 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 33 - 35 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 250 - 420 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: Its nest is a slight hollow in dead leaves under thick vegetation. It lays up to 4 eggs in a single brood between March and August.
Diet: It feeds on worms, beetles and seeds


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Galinhola
German: Waldschnepfe
Dutch: Houtsnip
Swedish: Morkulla
Danish: Skovsneppe
Finish: Lehtokurppa
Norwegian: Rugde
Spanish: Chocha Perdiz
French: Bécasse des bois
Italian: Beccaccia eurasiatica
Polish: Słonka
Slovak: Sluka hôrna
Czech: Sluka lesní

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