Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
(Willet)


Order: Charadriiformes
Order Description: Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns
Family: Scolopacidae
Family Description: Sandpipers and Phalaropes

Physical Description:
14-17" (36-43 cm). Tall, robust, long-legged, and fairly long- billed, light sand-gray bird with bluish-gray legs. Lighter bellow. May appear slightly streaky. In flight, the black and white wing pattern is visible; from above a white rump patch.

Similar Species- Greater Yellowlegs, Godwits, Wandering Tattler

Song:
Musical, repetitious pill-will-willet, weep-weep-weep, and others.

Distribution:
Breeds locally from eastern Oregon, Idaho, and parts of souht- central Canada, south to east-central California, western Nevada, central Utah, northern Colorado, and parts of Midwest. Also breeds locally along parts of Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Winters north to California and Virginia, and south to South America. Nonbreeders may summer in winter range.

Habitat:
Found in marshes, tidal mudflats, beaches, lake margins, tidal channels, river mouths, coastal lagoons, sandy or rocky shores, and, less frequently, open grasslands.

Diet:
Feeds primarily on small invertebrates (crustaceans, mollusks, insects, and worms).

Ecology
Builds nest (concealed or in open) in depression on beach or flat. When not breeding, forages singly or in small, loose groups, typically in shallow water, on water surface, or in mud. Gathers in large flocks to sleep or rest. Uses separate feeding and nesting areas when breeding. Females show strong fidelity to mate and feeding areas between years. In Idaho study, Willets were more abundant in grazed than ungrazed riparianClick word for definition habitat.

Reproduction:
Female (possibly male, at night) incubatesClick word for definition 4 eggs for 22 days. Eggs are laid April-May, depending on range. Young are tended by both parents, and are abandoned at an early age.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNNF02010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Medin, D.E. and W.P. Clary. 1990. Bird and small mammal populations in a grazed and ungrazed riparian habitat in Idaho. USDA Forest Service Inter. Res. Sta. Res. Paper INT-245, Boise. 8pp.


Photo by H.R. Spendelow,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.