American Woodcock – Accepted

1. 03–09 Nov 1998


Iron Mtn. Pumping Plant SBE



Fig. 144, ph., Patten et al. (1999)








Figure 144. On 3 November 1998 California’s only American Woodcock was found at Iron Mtn. Pumping Plant in San Bernardino County. This photograph was taken on 9 November 1998, its last known date of occurrence (1998-177; Don Roberson).







American Woodcock

AMERICAN WOODCOCK Scolopax minor Gmelin, 1789

Accepted: 1 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: yes

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This species breeds in eastern North America, from southern Canada south to the Gulf states. The range has expanded slightly westward since the 1980s and now includes the eastern Great Plains. All but the most southerly breeding birds are migratory, and winter south to southern Texas and southern Florida. Roughly 30 vagrant records have accumulated in North and Middle America, virtually all of them from east of, or very near, the continental divide. The acceptable records nearest to California are from western Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (Patten et al. 1999). Amazingly, one was shot in France in late October 2006 (BW 19:492–493).

California’s vagrant American Woodcock was present from 3 to 9 November 1998 at Iron Mtn. Pumping Plant, an isolated oasis in San Bernardino County (Figure 144; Patten et al. 1999). Despite considerable effort, this bird could not be located on four days of its stay, underscoring the species’ secretive nature. This record appears to have no relation to a failed 1972–1974 attempt by the California Department of Fish and Game to establish the woodcock as a game bird in California. This species’ skulking, partially nocturnal ways, cryptic markings, relatively short migration distance, and the largely north–south orientation of its movements all contribute to the low odds of finding one as far west as California. See also Appendix H.


[CHILEAN SKUA Stercorarius chilensis (Bonaparte, 1856) – see hypothetical section]