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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Lesser Yellowlegs -- Tringa flavipes

RANGE: Breeds from central Alaska and central Yukon to northern Manitoba, northern Ontario, and extreme west-central Quebec south to east-central British Columbia, across to southeastern Manitoba. Winters along the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts from southern California and South Carolina south to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits the Nearctic coniferous forest zone, from boreal and subarctic regions into the low Arctic; occurs mainly inland, and to some extent upland. Prefers grassy meadows and bogs, natural clearings, or burned areas in forest with scattered stumps and fallen logs, often far from open water. Outside the breeding season, inhabits shallow prairie sloughs in open country, muddy shores of lakes and marshy ponds, sewage beds, river margins, and inland and coastal marshes.


NEST: Nests in a depression on the ground, singly or in loose colonies. Locates nest on a dry sloping bank, ridge, or level plateau, in open high woodland with sparse, fairly low undergrowth, in swampy muskeg, or on undrained land surrounded by farmland.

FOOD: Forages by picking and snatching food from shallow water, especially in wet, shortgrass marshes, or in shallow ponds, wet cultivated fields, or on mudflats. Eats ants, bugs, flies, grasshoppers, insect larvae, small fishes, crustaceans, and worms.

REFERENCES: Bent 1927, Cramp and Simmons 1983, Low and Mansell 1983, Palmer 1967.

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