Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 24 Oct 2015
Results from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Woodcock Survey show that numbers of the British breeding population of this enigmatic wader have fallen by nearly one third since 2003.
The survey was undertaken in 2013 by the BTO and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). It provides the most recent breeding population estimate, as well as an assessment of breeding range change, since the first survey in 2003.
Woodcock’s breeding population was estimated at 55,241 males, representing a 29 per cent decline since 2003. The percentage of wooded survey squares occupied by the species decreased from 47 per cent in 2003 to 37 per cent in 2013. Annual counts from occupied sites monitored between 2003 and 2013 also indicate a decrease in abundance of 40 per cent during the 10-year period.
Woodcock is currently Amber listed as a Species of Conservation Concern, resulting from recent moderate declines in Europe and Russia. However, the scale of these changes is uncertain due to a lack of accurate data because of the nocturnal habits and cryptic behaviour of the bird.