The Many Names of the American Woodcock

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5 memorable nicknames of the American Woodcock

While on the road this year I heard many names for the American Woodcock. Some of these I had heard before, but others were a first. This only magnifies how unique cultures pop around this “unlikely species” and only strengthens the allure of this amazing upland bird game species.


Yes, we have all heard the term Timberdoodle. Although the history behind that name seems to be a bit elusive, we can theorize on its meaning. The Woodcock stands out distinctly from its cousin the Snipe, because its found in timber rather than in marshy areas. Hence the term “timber”, but what of the word doodle? The word doodle in archaic days would mean foolish or silly. Which when combined makes sense since many of us tend to think of woodcock as quite the ridiculous creature, in the most respectful of ways.


While in Wisconsin this year filming the 2017 film ‘Camp Thunderbird’ we heard this new one. A very modern and shortened twist on the older “Timberdoodle” reference. This was certainly a place of hardcore woodcock culture. Birds aging for days, guts in, hanging on the cabin walls outside. Probably the best “doods” I have eaten all year. Certainly a profound respect and love for the American Woodcock in this camp. That leads us to our next name, the mudbat. You may be kicked out of Camp Thunderbird for using such foul language.


“Mudbat”, “Swampbat” they have similar meaning if you have ever hunted the American Woodcock. This unique bird species relies on soft ground to eat its primary food source- worms. So it does not take much imagination to think of how this lingo came about. A personal favorite of the Project Upland team, the term “mudbat” has a bit of a rough and hardcore ring to it. (Check out our “Mudbat” Man T-shirt) Although there are many people that do not care to eat woodcock, which may support the theory that this is a more derogatory term for this iconic bird species.

Little Russet Fellers

For any Burton Spiller fans or hardcore upland hunters that have read the legendary book “Grouse Feathers” you have heard this term. A personal favorite of the Northwoods’r crew out in Minnesota. I even read a more recent reference to this in “Why We Hunt Woodcock” in the Winter 2016 issue of the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine, by modern upland legend and writer Tom Keer. Keer even dropped some more inventive names I had never previously heard like “whistledoodle”, “Bog Snipe”, “Labrador Twister”, “Air Flounder” and “Night Partridge”.

Timber Rocket

This is my personal favorite from this year. While hunting in Minnesota making an upcoming Project Upland film with the Modern Wild they dropped this original term. Of course, I asked for an explanation and received one of the most logical definitions to date. They whistle and fly as unpredictable as a bottle rocket. I was sold with little effort on this as my now go to term for one of my personal upland birds the American Woodcock.

Last modified: May 31, 2017

One Response to :
The Many Names of the American Woodcock

  1. Rob Finlayson says:

    What? You didn’t include Bogsuckers in your list? That’s the best one of all!

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