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Booth Museum Bird of the Month, January 2020: Scolopax rusticola

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To start the new year, the Booth Museum take a look at the Woodcock Scolopax rusticola.

UK conservation status: Red

Woodcocks are classed as wading birds, however, as the name suggests, they spend much of the time in woodland, hiding in dense cover during the day. At night, woodcocks venture into more open ground to feed on worms, beetles, snails and other invertebrates.

They have a distinctive zig-zagging flight when disturbed, which is accompanied by a whirring sound. They perform courtship (roding) displays at dusk. Individual males can be identified by their unique calls.

In the past, certain feathers were used for very fine paint brushes and even for removing dust from people’s eyes!

Kerrie Curzon, Collections Assistant and Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences