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Diego Martin River, Westmoorings

Upperparts are dark brown spotted with white, with dark wings. The underparts are white. The neck is long. The bill is black (gray in non-breeding season), long and blunt tipped. The legs are long and yellow. Both sexes are alike and the immature is similar to the adult but less heavily marked. The size is 29-33 cm (11-13 in) and weight: 111-235 g (3.92-8.3 ounces).

This bird is similar to the Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper and Stilt Sandpiper. The Greater Yellowlegs is larger than the Lesser Yellowlegs. Greater Yellowlegs' bill appears slightly upturned and blunt-tipped, while Lesser Yellowlegs' bill is straight and sharp-pointed. Lesser's bill is always dark, while Greater Yellowlegs bill is grayish at the base in non-breeding season. The Solitary Sandpiper has greenish legs and a barred tail. The Stilt Sandpiper is smaller, has greenish yellow legs, and a slightly drooping bill.

The Greater Yellowlegs is a winter visitor to Trinidad and Tobago but some birds are seen throughout the year.It breeds in southern Alaska and central Canada. They are seen on on mudflats at the seashore, swamps, flooded pastures and reservoirs. Their diet consists of small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, small fish, frogs, and occasionally seeds and berries. They will wade in water and picks up prey they see. In addition to plucking food from near the water’s surface, it may sweep its bill in the water from side to side to detect prey by touch.

Family - Sandpiper

Other Names - Pika

Latin Name - Tringa melanoleuca

Range - Breeds across southern Alaska and central Canada eastward to Newfoundland. Winters in southern United States southward to southern South America, northward along the coasts to southern British Columbia and Connecticut.


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Movietown seafront, port of spain

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Greater Yellowlegs feeding


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University of Guelph, Canada's Aquatic Environment -

Jennings, H. 2003. East Lake Washington Audubon Society at

Gomes, Scott.  Marshbirds and shorebirds of North Dakota. North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Bismarck, ND. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds, at

Puerto Rico's Birds in Photographs. 2nd edition, Mark Oberle. 2003, Editorial Humanitas, Seattle Washington

Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London

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All photographs (unless otherwise stated) are the property of Brian Ramsey. No portion of the material on this site, including the photographs, may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey. The permission of the other owners of the photographs must also be obtained for use.   

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Last modified: February 16, 2008