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Lesser Yellowlegs

Tringa flavipes ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Lesser Yellowlegs is a slender, long-legged shorebird that readily shows off the brightly colored legs that give it its name. It is an active feeder, often running through the shallow water to chase its prey.

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Appearance

Shorebirds
Shorebirds
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized shorebird.
  • Long, bright yellow legs.
  • Rather long neck and bill.
  • White rump and tail.

Immature Description

Similar to adult.

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Field MarksHelp

  • Juvenile

    Lesser Yellowlegs

    Juvenile
    • Medium-sized, slender-bodied shorebird
    • Long yellow legs
    • Thin, pointed bil bill just longer than head
    • White below, pale gray above with juvenile showing white markings
    • © Daniel Behm, Point Mouillie, Michigan, August 2010
  • Breeding adult

    Lesser Yellowlegs

    Breeding adult
    • Slender, elegant shorebird
    • Thin, pointed bill just longer than head
    • Breeding adult shows black and white mottling on back, gray streaking on neck/flanks
    • White eye-ring
    • © Shawn McCready, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 2012
  • Juvenile

    Lesser Yellowlegs

    Juvenile

Similar Species

  • 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).
  • Solitary Sandpiper has greenish legs and a barred tail.
  • Stilt Sandpiper is slightly smaller, has greenish yellow legs, and a slightly drooping bill.