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BTO Blueline
WOODCOCK
Scolopax rusticola
Woodcock © G H Higginbotham
Conservation listings

Europe: SPEC category 3, declining (winter)
UK: Amber (>50% population decline but data possibly unrepresentative)

Long-term trend
UK: rapid decline
 
Status summary
The Woodcock has declined rapidly and significantly on CBC plots. Because CBC did not cover coniferous forests and was concentrated in lowland Britain, however, it is not certain how well this trend represents the whole population and, provisionally, the results warrant only an Amber listing. Range contractions, that may have the same cause as the decline in abundance, were recorded concurrently with part of the CBC decline (Gibbons et al. 1993). The drying out of natural woodlands, overgrazing by deer, and the maturation of new plantations are possible causes of the Woodcock's decline. BBS is inefficient at recording this species, and cannot continue the index series. The first special BTO survey aimed at monitoring breeding Woodcock took place in 2003.
Table of population changes for Woodcock
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 20 -74 -88 -49 >50 Unrepresentative? small sample
  25 1974-1999 20 -76 -88 -51 >50 Unrepresentative? small sample
  10 1989-1999 13 -40 -62 -11 >25 Unrepresentative? small sample
  5 1994-1999 13 -24 -44 -3   Unrepresentative? small sample
Productivity information is not currently available for this species
 
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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009