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Merlin Bird ID

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    Willet

    Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers

    Willet

    Tringa semipalmata
    • ORDER: Charadriiformes
    • FAMILY: Scolopacidae
    Basic Description

    Piercing calls and distinctive wing markings make the otherwise subdued Willet one of our most conspicuous large shorebirds. Whether in mottled brown breeding plumage or gray winter colors, Willets in flight reveal a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. These long-legged, straight-billed shorebirds feed along beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores. Willets are common on most of our coastline—learn to recognize them and they’ll make a useful stepping-stone to identifying other shorebirds.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for WilletRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    In winter, Willets are easy to spot feeding along the water’s edge. They’re one of the largest common shorebirds, so even though they’re indistinctly marked, you can learn to quickly recognize their overall chunky shape, subdued plumage, and thick, long bill. To be absolutely sure, look for distinctive black-and-white wing markings when they take flight, and listen for the pill-will-willet call that gives them their name.

    Other Names
    • Playero Pihuiuí (Spanish)
    • Chevalier semipalmé (French)
    • Cool Facts