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Greater Yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A common, tall, long-legged shorebird of freshwater ponds and tidal marshes, the Greater Yellowlegs frequently announces its presence by its piercing alarm calls.

Birds of North America Online
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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
11.4–13 in
29–33 cm
Wingspan
23.6 in
60 cm
Weight
3.9–8.3 oz
111–235 g
Other Names
  • Grand chevalier à pattes jaunes (French)
  • Patamarilla mayor (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Although the Greater Yellowlegs is common and widespread, its low densities and tendency to breed in inhospitable, mosquito-ridden muskegs make it one of the least-studied shorebirds on the continent.

Habitat


Marsh

Breeds in muskeg, wet bogs with small wooded islands, and forests (usually coniferous) with abundant clearings. Winters in wide variety of shallow fresh and saltwater habitats.

Food


Insects

Small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, small fish, frogs, and occasionally seeds and berries.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Egg Description
Gray to brown with dark markings.
Condition at Hatching
Downy and able to walk. Leave nest in a few hours after hatching and feed themselves.
Nest Description

Shallow scrape or depression in moss or peat on ground, lined with dead leaves, lichens, grasses, and short, thin spruce twigs

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Probing

Wades in water and picks up prey it sees, sweeps bill side-to-side through water to catch prey by feel.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations appear stable.

Credits

  • Elphick, C. S., and T. L. Tibbitts. 1998. Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca). In The Birds of North America, No. 355 (A. Poole and F. Gill,eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Greater Yellowlegs Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings