Resident, with some birds wintering in Ireland and on the continent. Welsh winter populations are swelled by visitors from England and the continent (Lovegrove et al. 1994).
The Population Status of Birds in Wales:
Population trend and distribution
Woodcocks have declined rapidly in lowland Britain, but information about their status in upland woodlands and forests is relatively poor. In Wales, they are mainly confined to the eastern counties as a breeding species but are fairly common and widespread during the winter (Lovegrove et al. 1994). The 2003 BTO/GCT Breeding Woodcock Survey, revealed that birds were present in only 20% of woodlands surveyed in Wales (Fuller and Hoodless 2003). The present population trend is unknown, but appears to be rapidly declining with many formerly occupied areas no longer supporting
breeding pairs. Their status in upland conifer blocks is unknown.
General: primarily large damp woodlands, eg >80 ha. Small woods (<10 ha) are avoided. A mosaic including a well- developed shrub layer, both sparse and well-developed field layer, clearings and rides is required. Pre-thinning conifer plantations are also used. Damp pasture and wet heath are used for feeding, particularly in the winter.
Nesting: nests are located on the ground, concealed by low vegetation such as brambles.
Feeding: woodcocks feed mainly on
invertebrates, particularly earthworms an beetle larvae. Most food is found by probing in damp earth, often in the cover
Figure 21 Key areas for
of plants such as dog’s mercury. Some food woodcock in Wales.
11 Moderate (25–50%) decline in Welsh range over the last 25 years and unfavourable conservation status, not concentrated in Europe. 12 Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Amber-listed.