Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)


French: Bécasse d’Amérique German: Kanadaschnepfe Spanish: Chocha americana

Scolopax minor

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

New York, USA


In the past sometimes placed in monotypic genus Philohela. Monotypic.


S Manitoba through Ontario and Quebec to New Brunswick and SW Newfoundland, and S through Great Plains and E USA to EC Texas, Gulf states and Florida. Winters in SE USA, on Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains from S Texas to S Florida.

Descriptive notes

25–31 cm; male 116–219 g, female 151–279 g; wingspan 40–51 cm. Smallest woodcock, with unbarred orange-buff underparts and underwing-coverts; silvery-... read more


Displaying male on bare open ground utters muffled cooing “chako” or “tuko” followed by a... read more


Mixed or deciduous moist woodlands with scattered openings (40% of surface area seems to be minimum... read more

Food and feeding

Earthworms form 68–86% of diet; when available, also Diptera, beetles, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, snails, millipedes, centipedes and... read more


Lays from early Jan (S USA) to late Apr (N USA and Canada), although nests with eggs recorded until late Jul in Connecticut and Vermont (... read more


N breeders migratory, leaving area from Sept to mid Nov; start and progress of migration... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Survey in 2000–2004 located > 2,240,000 displaying males, versus a total in excess of 3,000,000 in 1970–1975. In 1970s... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). American Woodcock (Scolopax minor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 February 2020).