Willet

Tringa semipalmata

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

WILL

Code 6

TRISEM

ITIS

Egg Color:

Gray to pale olive with brown markings.



Number of Eggs:

4 - 5



Incubation Days:

22 - 29



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

On sand, away from shrubbery, tucked in cups of vegetation.



Nest Material:

Lined with dry grass.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Willet: Medium to large sandpiper with mottled gray-brown upperparts, white rump and lightly streaked and barred white underparts. Broad white stripes on black wings are visible in flight. Tail is white with dark brown tip; legs are long and blue-gray, bill is heavy; pale eye-ring. Sexes are similar; female is larger. Winter adult is plain gray-brown above and white below; head, throat, neck and breast are washed gray. Juvenile looks like winter adult but upperparts are gray-brown with dark barring and broad buff fringes.

Range and Habitat

Willet: Breeds from central Canada to northeastern California and Nevada and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts south from Nova Scotia. Spends winters along coasts from Oregon, California, and Mexico, and also from the Carolinas southward. Preferred habitats include mud banks, tides, coasts and coastal lagoons.

Breeding and Nesting

Willet: Four to five brown marked, gray to pale olive eggs are laid in a nest lined with weeds or bits of shell built in a depression on open ground or in a grass clump. Incubation ranges from 22 to 29 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Willet: Their diet includes insects, small crustaceans, mollusks and polychaetes; occasionally they eat small fish. They forage by picking food from the shallows and probing mud with the tip of the bill. They are generalist feeders. They detect prey by sight and touch, and forage both day and night. They are found in mudflats, marshes, sandy beaches, the rocky coast, and along lake shorelines.

Vocalization

Willet: Call is a loud, ringing "pill-will-willet" and a quieter "kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk."

Similar Species

Willet: Yellowlegs are smaller and slimmer, with more slender bills and yellow legs, and lack striking black-and-white wing pattern.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X