Lesser Yellowlegs

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Image:Yellowlegsl.jpg

Common Name: Lesser Yellowlegs
Scientific Name: Tringa flavipes

Size: 9-10 inches (23-25 cm)

Habitat: North America; breeding habitat from Alaska to Quebec. This species is a regular vagrant to Western Europe, and the odd bird has wintered in Great Britain. Breeds in open boreal forest with scattered shallow wetlands. Winters in wide variety of shallow fresh and saltwater habitats..

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 400,000. Yellowlegs are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Diet: Insects, small fish and crustaceans. These birds forage in shallow water, sometimes using their bill to stir up the water.

Nesting: Their breeding habitat is bogs and marshes in the boreal forest region of Canada and Alaska. They nest on the ground, usually in well-hidden locations near water. The nest is a scrape, a depression in ground or moss, lined with dry grass, decayed leaves, spruce needles or other debris, placed on dry, mossy ridges or hummocks, next to fallen branches and logs, and underneath low shrubs. They lay 3-4 eggs. The incubation period is 23 days. The young leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching and then leave vicinity of the nest within 2 days. Both the male and female Lesser Yellowlegs provide parental care to the young, but the female tends to leave the breeding area before the chicks can fly, thus leaving the male to defend the young until fledging.

Cool Facts: The two yellowleg species are very similar. Size is marked different when they appear together and can be compared against each other. Greater Yellowlegs's bill appears slightly upturned and blunt-tipped, while Lesser Yellowlegs's bill is straight and sharp-pointed. Lesser's bill is always dark, while Greater's bill is grayish at the base in nonbreeding season. Voice is best distinguishing character: Greater gives three or four piercing notes, Lesser two rapid, softer short whistles (sometimes or or three).


Found in Songbird ReMix Shorebirds Volume 3: Small Waders

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