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Lesser Yellowlegs


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.


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.

Range Map Help

Lesser Yellowlegs Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Juvenile

    Lesser Yellowlegs

    • 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


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.



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