Lesser Yellowlegs

Tringa flavipes

Very similar to the Greater Yellowlegs, the Lesser Yellowlegs is about half the weight of the Greater. The bill length is shorter, and about equal to the width of its head, while the Greater’s bill is about one-and-a-half times the length of its head. Nesting for this bird is more northward, as far as Alaska, northern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada. Their winter range is more southerly than its larger cousin, extending over the entire South American continent. I met this bird often on its nesting grounds when I was traveling through the Yukon and Alaska.

At a distance and without a reliable size comparison, differentiating the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs is a tricky proposition. While the general appearance of each bird is similar, the Lesser Yellowlegs is smaller and the bill length is shorter, relative to the head. Their vocalizations are nearly the same, though some have observed the calls of the Greater Yellowlegs is harsher, and louder and clearer, than the Lesser Yellowlegs.

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