The Greater Yellowlegs
, is a large North
, similar in
appearance to the smaller Lesser
. Its closest relative, however, is the Greenshank
, which together with the Spotted Redshank
form a close-knit group.
Among them, these three species show all the basic leg and foot
colors found in the shanks
that this character is paraphyletic
(Pereira & Baker, 2005). They are also the largest shanks apart
from the Willet
, which is altogether more
robustly built. The Greater Yellowlegs and the Greenshank share a
coarse, dark, and fairly crisp breast pattern as well as much black
on the shoulders and back in breeding plumage.
Adults have long yellow legs and a long, thin, dark bill which has
a slight upward curve and is longer in length than the head. The
body is grey brown on top and white underneath; the neck and breast
are streaked with dark brown. The rump is white. It ranges in
length from 29 to 40 cm (11.5-16 inches) and in weight from 111 to
250 grams (3.9 to 9 oz).
breeding habitat is bogs and marshes in the boreal
forest region of Canada and Alaska.
nest on the ground, usually in well-hidden locations near water.
The three to four eggs average 50 mm (2 inches) in length, 33 mm
(1.3 inches) in breadth and weigh about 28 grams (1 oz). The
incubation period is 23 days. The young leave the nest within 24
hours of hatching and then leave vicinity of the nest within 2
migrate to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of
States and south to South
They are very rare vagrants to western Europe
These birds forage in shallow water, sometimes using their bill to
stir up the water. They mainly eat insects and small fish, as well
as crustaceans and marine worms. It often walks in sand or mud and
leaves clear tracks
; it can be possible
to gather information about this species using its tracks.
The call is harsher than that of the Lesser Yellowlegs.
- Pereira, S. L., & Baker, A. J. (2005). Multiple Gene
Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral
Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae).
Condor 107 (3): 514–526.