Radio tagging as an aid to the study of Woodcock.

Author Hirons, G.J.M. & Owen, R.B.Jr.
Citation Hirons, G.J.M. & Owen, R.B.Jr. (1982). Radio tagging as an aid to the study of Woodcock. In: Symposium of the Zoological Society of London No. 49: 139-152. Zoological Society of London, London.


Cryptic plumage, crepuscular habits, and a woodland existence make the woodcock Scolopax rusticola a challenging species to study, and without radio tagging many aspects of its basic biology would remain unknown or misinterpreted. Conventional radio tracking alone has provided new information on habitat preferences, home range size and breeding biology. However, it was necessary to develop a more specialized technique, involving temperature-sensitive transmitters and a programmable automatic scanning receiver to investigate one fundamental aspect of the woodcock's complex polygamous mating system -  the mating success of individual males in relation to the timing and duration of their display flights. Daily feeding, incubation and brooding rhythms have been monitored with a strip-chart recorder. Details of these techniques and examples of the information obtained are presented.

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