The woodcocks are a group of seven extant very similar wading bird species in the genus Scolopax, characterised by a long slender bill and cryptic brown and blackish plumage. Only two woodcocks are widespread, the others being localised island species. Their closest relatives are the typical snipes of the genus Gallinago (Thomas et al., 2004). 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.