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Diet, feeding behaviour and habitat selection of breeding Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola were studied by radiotracking birds from March to July in two contrasting situations: a 171-ha lowland plantation of Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus, Beech Fagus sylvaticus and pine Pinus sylvestris/P. nigra in Derbyshire, central England, and an area of c. 900 ha of fragmented, naturally regenerating birch Betula pendula/B. pubescens woodland and hill margin in an upland glen in Angus, northeast Scotland. Earthworms were the most important diet component of adults and chicks in terms of biomass at both sites (50–80%), the rest comprising mainly spiders, harvestmen and beetles. In spring both sexes flew c. 1 km after dusk to feed on fields at night, with up to 94% of nocturnal radiolocations on fields in March, dropping to 18% in July. This behaviour probably reflected seasonal changes in the relative availability of earthworms in fields and woodland. Diurnal home range sizes were similar at both sites and the mean size of 30-day ranges was 62 ± 20 ha (± se), although Woodcock changed locations regularly and areas used for feeding on a daily basis were typically smaller than 1 ha. In the lowland plantation, Sycamore with Dog's Mercury Mercurialis perennis ground cover was highly used relative to availability. In the upland margin study area, the same held for dense sapling-stage birch. These habitats appear to represent a compromise between food availability and protection from avian predators. Recently documented changes in the structure of British woods during the last 30 years, suggestive of reduced management and increased grazing/browsing, are likely to have been detrimental to breeding Woodcock.