Thursday, September 3, 2015

Willet

Three Willets loafing on the Sanibel Island beach last March—all three appear to be asleep, or at least they have their eyes closed. Nobody has quantified the daily time budgets of Willets —such a study might make a nice Master’s degree. Willets are known to roost at high tide and they rest communally when not breeding (Lowther et al 2001).

Due to the advent of molecular genetics studies, these days avian systematics is in a state of flux. Willets, for example, used to reside in their own genus, Catoptrophorus, a Latinized version of the Greek for mirror-bearing—referring to the striking white wing stripes visible on flying Willets. Genetic research concludes that these birds are, in fact, members of the genus Tringa (along with Solitary Sandpipers and the yellowlegs).

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