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American woodcock (Phylohela minor)


American Woodcock

The American woodcock (Phylohela minor) seems to have been made by a committee. The stubby body has almost no tail, a head too small for its body, and a long beak that seems out of proportion. When flushed, however, the woodcock darts and weaves through the woods with incredible agility, quickly putting distance between itself and the intruder. Perhaps its most amazing show is the spring courtship flight, which usually takes place in the evening, just before complete darkness. The male circles a field making a nasal "peent" sound, then climbs in spirals high in the air and plummets down, chittering all the while.

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