Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Shorebirds in Northern CA

January 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Nature

From our bird buddy:  Len Blumin (click on picture to enlarge):

Let’s face it, some shorebirds are more attractive than others, and the tall elegant Greater Yellowlegs is near the top of the list of “lookers”, even in the dull winter plumage seen here. They are common, usually present in small numbers, and spend the winter not only along all U.S. coastlines but also inland a bit and then south throughout Central and South America. They breed in central Canada and southern Alaska. We usually see the Greater Yellowlegs foraging actively in shallow water, but this day it was kicking back on the rocks at Las Gallinas, exposing its handsome yellow legs and semipalmated toes, which I never noticed before.

We hear the Greater Yellowlegs at it flies (a pleasant but loud “Tu Tu Tu”), sometimes causing other shorebirds to alarm. Easy to identify, with unmistakeable long yellow legs and a fine bill that is longer than the length of its head (here about 1.2 x). The bill usually has some gray color at the base, and is thicker at the base than the shorter all black bill of the Lesser Yellowlegs. the Lesser also has a softer cry, with fewer (lesser!) notes, i.e. “tu tu”.
Interesting to learn that Greater Yellowlegs is more closely related to another tringa, the Spotted Redshank, than it is to the Lesser Yellowlegs. The strong resemblance between Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs may be due in part to mimicry or convergent evolution.

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