This woodcock has a small population that has declined moderately rapidly as a result of logging and predation. Although it has recently shown some signs of recovery, the combined effects of logging and introduced predators are predicted to lead to an increased, rapid rate of decline in the near future. These factors qualify it as Vulnerable.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
Distribution and populationScolopax mira
34-36 cm. Long-billed, forest-dwelling woodcock. Plumage variable. Olive-brown upperparts with soft rufescent-brown patterning. Underparts barred brown and buff. Broad brown bars on hind crown with the first slightly narrower than the second. Bare pink skin around eyes. Similar spp. Eurasian Woodcock S. rusticola has narrower wings, shorter tarsi, and more rounded head. Generally more rufous coloration with more grey and dark contrasting patterning on wings and mantle. Dark subterminal band on tail.
is endemic to the Nansei Shoto Islands in southern Japan
, where it is recorded from the islands of Amami-ooshima, Kakeroma-jima, Toku-no-shima, Okinawa-jima and Tokashiki-jima. On Amami-ooshima, it was reported to be common in the mid-1980s and is mainly confined to the western half and the eastern tip of the island. Numbers around the Naze area of Amami City have declined markedly. On Toku-no-shima, it was reportedly reasonably common in the mid-1980s, but it seems to be uncommon on Okinawa, where its population is believed to be small and confined to the northern part of the island. Its population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. Declines are thought to have continued until 2002, but following conservation efforts since then, including the control of mongooses, as well as a decline in forestry, it may have begun to recover (T. Mizuta in litt
. 2012).Population justification
The global population is estimated to number < c.10,000 individuals (based on recent records and surveys by BirdLife International 2001 and Rose and Scott 1997). Recent surveys suggest that the total population including immature birds may now exceed 10,000 individuals but whether the number of mature individuals is greater than 10,000 requires clarification. It is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals here, equating to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded to 3,500-15,000 individuals. The population in Japan has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs (Brazil 2009).Trend justification
The species has declined owing to considerable loss of forest habitat, combined with predation by the non-native small Indian mongoose Herpestes javanicus
. Since 2002, it has shown signs of recovery, but it is still likely to have undergone an overall decline over the past three generations (19 years). Mongoose control measures are considered relatively effective, but far from complete for this species, and not yet implemented for other invasive predators (T. Mizuka in litt
. 2012), whilst habitat loss is continuing, thus it is precautionarily predicted to undergo rapid declines in the near future. Ecology
It occurs in subtropical, evergreen, broadleaved hill forest, sometimes with cycads, where it prefers damp and shady areas of the forest floor. It has been suggested that some birds migrate from Amami-ooshima to more southerly islands in winter, but this remains uncertain. Threats
On Amami-ooshima, large areas of mature forests have been clear-cut and replaced by young secondary forests. On Okinawa-jima, the area of forest has declined and there is a continuing but reduced level of deforestation in its range (T. Mizuta in litt
. 2012). Despite a decline in forestry during the past decade, forestry activities continue to threaten the species (T. Mizuta in litt
. 2012). There have been significant population declines in areas of good habitat where small Indian mongoose Herpestes javanicus
was common, suggesting high levels of predation. Since 2002, there has been some control of mongooses and the predation risk may have decreased. Feral dogs and cats remain potential predators however. The species may suffer some mortality to vehicles on Amami-ooshima, as it is often observed on roads (T. Mizuta in litt
. 2012).Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Japan. Yuwandake National Wildlife Protection Area, and Kinsaku-baru Prefecture Protection Area have been established on Amami-ooshima. Yonaha-dake has been designated as a prefecture protection area on Okinawa-jima. On Amami-ooshima, S. rusticola
has been given special protection in order to prevent accidental shooting of S. mira
. A radio-telemetry study of its home range was completed in the early 1990s and 2000s. Small Indian mongoose has been actively controlled by the Ministry of the Environment since 2002 with benefits to the woodcock. Censuses along mountain roads in the breeding season (twice a year, mainly in March and June), observations with ringed and radio transmitter fitted birds, and automatic camera surveys are now performed. Conservation Actions Proposed
Restore the remaining areas of forest on the islands where it occurs. Increase control of introduced cats and dogs and continue efforts to control small Indian mongoose. Monitor the status of the population on Amami-ooshima, particularly to determine the impact of introduced predators. Conduct surveys and ecological research on the islands where it occurs.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.
Rose, P. M.; Scott, D. A. 1997. Waterfowl population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Chan, S., Crosby, M., Peet, N., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Chan, S., Kominami, Y., Mizuta, T.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Scolopax mira. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2016.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2016.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species