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What do Woodcocks eat?

What do Woodcocks eatEurasian Woodcock forage in soft soil in thickets, usually well hidden from sight. They mainly eat earthworms, but also insects and their larvae, freshwater molluscs and some plant seeds. Because they rely on probing into the ground to find food, they are vulnerable to cold winter weather when the ground remains frozen. During the cold British winter of 1962-3, starving Woodcock were found feeding in urban areas and some were even forced to eat bird seed.
Nocturnal feeding occurs in frost-free pasture or long-rotation grass meadows; fields with woodland within 1 kilometre are preferred to allow roosting during the day. There are only low densities of Eurasian Woodcock in predominantly arable areas. In a three-year scientific study based in Brittany, France, 65 radio-tagged Woodcock and their habitat preferences were monitored. During the day, the birds chose areas of forest with humus which held large numbers of earthworms and with a dense scrub layer to provide protection, and hedges with scrub and trees were also found to be important. At night, the Woodcock selected grazed pastures which had five times the biomass of earthworms compared to tilled land.

 

 

Woodcock description:

The Eurasian Woodcock, Scolopax rusticola, is a medium-small wading bird found in temperate and subarctic Eurasia. It has cryptic camouflage to suit its woodland habitat, with reddish-brown upperparts and buff-coloured underparts. Its eyes are set far back on its head to give it 360-degree vision and it probes in the ground for food with its long, sensitive bill, making it vulnerable to cold weather when the ground remains frozen.

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