A study of molt and changes in body weight of American Woodcock was conducted to better understand the summer and fall behavior of these birds and to indicate periods of physiological stress. The postnuptial molt of adults was a complete molt beginning in late June and ending by the middle of October. In contrast, the postjuvenal molt was a less intensive partial molt beginning in mid-July but also extending to the middle of October. Both male and female adult birds experienced weight loss in August during peak molt. Young birds gradually gained weight throughout the summer. Fat deposition was negatively correlated with molt while fall body weights were positively correlated with fat deposition. The data indicated that the majority of Maine woodcock are not physiologically prepared for migration until mid-October. Weights of adult males during the spring suggested that this is an important period of stress for these birds.
Additional Publication Details
Molt patterns and weight changes of the American woodcock