Breeding Biology of the American Woodcock in Piedmont, North Carolina

Woodcock (Scolapax minor) were observed and collected in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, from November 1977 through June 1978 and from November 1978 through March 1979 for studies of their courtship behavior, reproductive physiology, and breeding chronology. Male courtship behavior began in early December and terminated in early June, with February and March having the greatest numbers of singing males. However, individual males spent more time on the singing grounds during March, April, and May. Testicular recrudescence was apparent by early January. Juvenile males produced sperm during their first breeding season. Two females were in the rapid stage of follicle development by 18 January which probably indicated imminent ovulation. However, it appears that successful reproduction did not occur until late March or early April, as evidenced by brood hatching dates. These hatching dates contrast with earlier breeding records from previous years. The severity of winter weather is suggested as a factor which determines when nesting is initiated by woodcock.

Starting page
142
Ending page
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ID
9823