American Woodcock Status

  • Mark Seamans U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management
  • Rebecca Rau U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management


Annual assessment of American woodcock (Scolopax minor; hereafter, woodcock) populations in North America relies primarily on the American Woodcock Singing-Ground Survey (SGS). Ancillary information concerning harvest and hunting effort comes from the Harvest Information Program (HIP), and indices of recruitment come from Wing Collection Surveys (WCS). We report on long-term trends in SGS, HIP, and WCS data in the Eastern and Central Management Regions in the U.S. Analyses of SGS data indicate there have been significant long-term (1968–2017) declines of 1.05% per year in the Eastern Management Region and -0.56 % per year in the Central Management Region. Discontinuance of some routes and their replacement with new routes may have artificially lessened the long-term negative trends in the SGS. Since 2013, total harvest and number of days hunters spent pursuing woodcock have been below the long-term average (1999–2015) in both management regions. Age ratios (number of immatures per adult female) were temporally variable but exhibited no long-term trend in the Eastern Management Region. In the Central Management Region, age ratios were generally higher during the beginning of the study (1963–1987) period versus the latter part (1988–2016).

Conservation Strategies