Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes, breeds in Alaska and Canada, and winters from the southern United States to Argentina. It is a common migrant through Utah. Its breeding habitat is open forest, but in other seasons it utilizes a variety of wetland habitats including marshes, mudflats, and the edges of ponds. This sandpiper feeds mainly on aquatic and terrestrial insects, especially flies and beetles, but it occasionally takes other prey such as small fish, seeds, crustaceans, worms, and snails.

The nest is constructed on the ground, typically on dry, mossy, somewhat elevated sites near fallen branches or logs. Four eggs are incubated by both parents for 22 to 23 days. The hatchlings are precocial and leave the nest several hours after hatching, at which time they feed themselves, and are led by the parents to the nearest water. They are tended by both parents and are able to fly after about 18 to 20 days.


  • Tibbitts, T. L., and W. Moskoff. Lesser yellowlegs. Birds of North America 427: 1–27.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. 2nd ed. Academic, San Diego. 347 pp.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.