Woodcocks are characterised by a long slender bill and cryptic brown and blackish plumage. These are birds have stocky bodies and long bills. They have eyes set on the sides of their heads, which gives them almost 360° vision.
These are woodland birds which feed at night or in the evenings, searching for invertebrates in soft ground with their long bills. Unlike in most birds the tip of the upper mandible is flexible. This habit and their unobtrusive plumage makes it difficult to see them when they are resting in the day. The tiny feathers that are located at the first joint of the woodcock's wings are referred to as "pin feathers" and these are much sought after by artists for fine painting work.
Most have distinctive displays usually given at dawn or dusk.