The Eurasian Woodcock, Scolopax rusticola is a medium-small wader. This species is the woodcock found through most of temperate and subarctic Eurasia. Northern and Asian populations migrate to southern Europe or south Asia respectively. Birds in milder western European countries are resident. This woodcock is replaced in the new World by the very similar but slightly smaller American Woodcock.
Adults are 33-38 cm in length, including the 6-7 cm long straight bill, and have a 55-65 cm wingspan. The Woodcock's body is patterned cinnamon on top and grey underneath. It has large eyes located high in the head. The wings are rounded and the legs are short and pinkish. This bird does not show the obvious mantle stripes of its American relative in flight.
Their breeding habitat is damp wooded areas. They nest on the ground in an open wooded location. These birds forage by probing in soft soil in thickets, usually well hidden from sight. They mainly eat earthworms and insects, also plant material. They are crepuscular, being most active at dawn and dusk. This species is generally solitary.
The male performs a display flight called 'roding' at dusk during courtship. Flying with a flickering action and downward pointing bill. It utters several croaks followed by a sharp squeak during this performance.
In many countries Woodcock are hunted as game. This is particularly popular in the UK, where their size, speed and flight pattern makes them a very challenging shot. A witnessed "right and left", in which a Woodcock is downed with each barrel of a shotgun, affords the shooter membership of the Shooting Times' prestigious Woodcock Club.