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Lesser Yellowlegs

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers
Lesser YellowlegsTringa flavipes
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

The Lesser Yellowlegs is a dainty and alert "marshpiper" that occurs in shallow, weedy wetlands and flooded fields across North America during migration. It's smaller with a shorter, more needlelike bill than the Greater Yellowlegs, but otherwise looks very similar. It breeds in the meadows and open woodlands of boreal Canada. Like many other shorebirds, the Lesser Yellowlegs rebounded from hunting in the early 20th century but has declined again from losses of wetland habitats. It is on the Yellow Watch List for species with declining populations.

More ID Info
image of range map for Lesser Yellowlegs
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Migration is the best time to find Lesser Yellowlegs if you live in the United States or southern Canada (check out this eBird animated abundance map for an idea of their movement patterns). Look for them in shallow marshes, ephemeral mudflats, and flooded fields in spring and fall, or on the tail ends of drawn-down reservoirs where nutrient-rich mudflats are exposed. Wet weather can create shallow pools in pasture or turf farms, both of which appeal to shorebirds like the Lesser Yellowlegs.

Other Names

  • Archibebe Patigualdo Chico (Spanish)
  • Petit Chevalier (French)
  • Cool Facts