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The Wilson’s snipe and American woodcock may both be cryptic “shorebirds” with long bills and big eyes, but you’ll rarely see them using the same habitat. 

Watch Wild Double Takes: Wilson's Snipe and American Woodcock on YouTube.


Find tips for identifying Oklahoma’s look-alike species in our video series on YouTube.

Similarities: These look-alike birds aren’t just difficult to identify, it’s often a challenge just to find these species in their habitats! Wilson's snipe and American woodcock are extremely well camouflaged and sit low to the ground. Both have stocky bodies, long bills, and large eyes. During the mating season, both species perform aerial displays that include sounds produced by their feathers. They can each be found in the state during the winter months, and occasional Oklahoma nesting records exist for the American woodcock.     

Differences: Wilson’s snipe and American woodcock rarely use the same habitat. Snipe are generally tied to shallow water near short vegetation while woodcock are generally tied to young growth woodlands. They also be differentiated by their coloration. Snipe have three bold streaks or “snipe stripes” down the back and a white belly, while woodcock have gray stripes down the back with a gray collar and a cinnamon belly. Woodcock may also be identified by their slow, rocking walk. 

If you see a snipe or woodcock while exploring Outdoor Oklahoma, consider sharing the sighting on free nature platforms like eBird and iNaturalist. Adding a photo to your observation can allow others to help confirm the identification.