Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)


French: Grand Chevalier German: Großer Gelbschenkel Spanish: Archibebe patigualdo grande

Scolopax melanoleuca

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Chateaux Bay, Labrador, Canada




S Alaska and British Columbia E to Labrador, Newfoundland I, Anticosti I and NE Nova Scotia. Winters from S Oregon (small numbers N to British Columbia) and New York S through Mexico, Central America and West Indies to South America S to Tierra del Fuego.

Descriptive notes

29–33 cm; 111–235 g; wingspan 70–74 cm. Large Tringa with long legs and longish bill; head and neck heavily streaked dark brown; breast, flanks and... read more


Most frequently heard call is a sharp and rather penetrating, trisyllabic “tew-tew-tew” (... read more


Muskeg forest with low and sparse undergrowth, scattered trees, marshy ponds and open areas; also... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes small crustaceans, fish, worms, aquatic insects and their larvae, also terrestrial insects, such as small grasshoppers, ants... read more


Poorly known. Season starts May, with active nests foundd between second week of May and third week of Jun, exceptionally mid Jul (... read more


Migration through interior North America and along coasts, on both passages. Few birds overfly W... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population reckoned at c. 20,000 birds in 1994, but more recently at 137,000 individuals. Very few precise data available, but... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).