Birds of Seabrook Island

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  Greater Yellowlegs
 
 

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  Order Charadriiformes - Plovers, Sandpipers, Gulls, Terns, Auks
   Family Scolopacidae - "Sandpipers"
      Tribe Tringini - Shanks (Long-legged Waders)

  Charadriiforms are a diverse group of shore and aquatic or wading or terrestrial birds. They include the sandgrouse, shore birds, gulls and terns, and alcids. The majority breed in the Northern Hemisphere.
   The Tree of Life includes shorebirds with the Ciconiiformes.
Sandpipers are a diverse group of shorebirds with bills not swollen at the tip. Most live in association with water. Short-billed forms feed on the surface using vision. Long-billed forms probe in mud and their prey is located by touch or smell. Tides influence their feeding cycles.
Tringids (shanks and tattlers) are medium size shorebirds, often found around the edges of fresh-water habitats. Most feed by picking but those with longer legs may wade in water to probe and may eat small fish. Many have gray or gray-brown as their primary color but may have brightly colored legs ("shanks").. Most breed in northern latitudes in marshy openings in boreal forest (only the Willet breeds in lower latitudes). Most tringids migrate long distances. Many tringids bob their head when disturbed - some like the Spotted Sandpiper do it so often it becomes a diagnostic habit.
 
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
 
     
  Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
 
Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common (especially during migration) / Common (fewer summer)
            MUD FLATS, LAGOON,  WET FIELDS
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   The Greater Yellowlegs is grayish with a bill that is much longer than the head and it may appear to be slightly upturned at the tip, They have extensive dark bars on their flanks. Their legs are yellow. They are noticeably larger than the Lesser Yellowlegs if both are seen together.
Greater Yellowlegs
     
Greater Yellowlegs. Bear Island WMA
   
  RANGE: Greater Yellowlegs breed in a band extending west from Newfoundland and Labrador, and Hudson Bay west nearly to the coast, and into southern Alaska. They winter along both coasts and the Gulf south through South America to Tierra del Fuego. They usually migrate in small flocks. A few seem to linger in the north quite late.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. Their nest is a shallow depression in moss or a small hummock, usually near water. It is often placed next to a log of branch. It is well concealed.  Females lay 4 eggs which both sexes incubate for about 23 days. Young are precocial and leave the nest after hatching. They are tended by both parents. They can fly after 18-20 days.  They are noisy on their nesting grounds and the female is difficult to flush from the nest.
  DIET: They feed on small fish, insects, snails, worms, tadpoles, and berries. They often skim the surface in shallow water when foraging, swinging their head back and forth. They often feed along the edge of quiet water but may also wade deeply into the water. They are not found on the high-energy beach.
  VOICE: The Greater Yellowlegs gives a ringing flight call or three or four notes ("skew, skew, skew") - they may be heard before you see them. They feed quietly during migration.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - common fall through spring, uncommon summer.
      Coastal - common winter visitor. Hilton Head - common winter visitor. Cape Romain - occasional/rare/common/common.
         Huntington Beach
- rare June; common July - November; uncommon December - March; common April - May.
      Caw Caw - uncommon year-round. ACE - common/rare/common/common.
   CBC: ACE 81, 45, 95, 31, 35, 97, 9, 104; Charleston 51, 61, 42, 51, 67, 26, 68, 14;
            Hilton Head 27, 14, 35, 157, 19, 0, 3, 3; Sun City/Okatie 12, 13, 2, 34, 12, 17, 5, 0;
            McClellanville 16, 78, 48, 16, nc, 23, 117, 72; Winyah Bay x, x, 29, 86, 99, 176, 101, 79; Litchfield/Pawley's 58, 120, 54, 17, 16, 85, 21, 10.
   P&G: Common migrant, uncommon winter visitor, rare summer vagrant.Maximum 41, McClellanville, 22 December 1985.
   Avendex: 4 records, scattered. 153 seen in Jasper Co., May 8, 1993.
   Potter: Present on mudflats throughout the year but it is common only during migration and does not breed here. It is fairly common in winter and rare in summer.
  ●  Common - tidal pools, estuaries, Jenkins Point marsh, etc. A true wader feeding as they walk through shallow to relatively deeper water.
   Both species of yellowlegs may feed inland in flooded areas - including the marsh at Jenkins Point. The Equestrian Center has been a good location following flooding. They are abundant at the Bear Island WMA and on Bulls Island, Cape Romain. When both species are present, the greater is noticeably larger than the lesser. Listen for their three note whistle as they fly overhead.
   Both species bob their head and body when alarmed. They typically call when they fly. The Greater Yellowlegs is more common in salt water - in our creeks (Cap'n Sam's), estuaries (Kiawah River), the lagoon on North Beach, etc. They are often seen wading in knee-deep water (sometimes belly-deep in water) - alone or with several others - walking and feeding actively, often submerging their head to feed. They usually feed alone - independently of other shorebirds. Their behavior, the white rump in flight, and the yellow legs are diagnostic for both species.
       
    Banner - Greater Yellowlegs, Jenkins Point.
       
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