Bird’s ID – Willet


The Willet (Tringa semipalmata), formerly in the monotypic genus Catoptrophorus as Catoptrophorus semipalmatus, is a large shorebird in the Scolopacidae family. It is a relatively large and robust sandpiper, and is the largest of the species called “shanks” in the genus Tringa. Its closest relative is the lesser yellowlegs, a much smaller bird with a very different appearance apart from the fine, clear, and dense pattern of the neck, which both species show in breeding plumage. It breeds in North America and the West Indies and winters in southern North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America.


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

17 thoughts on “Bird’s ID – Willet

  1. It’s quite a handsome bird. I don’t remember seeing one, but I have seen that relative you mentioned: the lesser yellowlegs. They’re quite common here. Your nice photos make me eager to return to the beach, when it’s not so hot and there aren’t so many people. I’ll remember to look for the willet when I go.

    • They are handsome birds indeed. During Summer it’s difficult to see them wading around on the beach as you pointed out, there are lots of people that makes it impossible to photograph birds. Thank you Linda. 🙂

  2. They are everywhere here along the North Carolina coastline. Willets and Sanderlings are what I watch mostly during spring and fall. The tourists seem to run them all off during the summertime.

    • I usually go to see them after the tourist’s season in Summer. You’re right about about being all over the East Coast, all the way to Florida. Thank you for sharing Debi. 🙂

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