Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Greater Yellowlegs

On Saturday, 2 November 2013, I saw a large shorebird feeding in a riffle in the Cannon River. My first thought was “Willet,” but soon I observed yellow legs. The leg color, the large size, and long, somewhat up-curved bill add up to Greater Yellowlegs.
Elphick and Tibbitts (1998) list a wide variety of wetland habitats for the Greater Yellowlegs. Although these authors include slow-flowing streams, this yellowlegs’ river was slightly beyond slow-moving. Up to its belly in water, the yellowlegs moved quickly, occasionally feeding like an egret, plunging its bill, head, and neck into the river. Both yellowlegs consume invertebrates, but, unlike Lesser Yellowlegs, Greaters also eat small fish.

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