Willet in breeding plumage
Willet in breeding plumage
All photos on this web page
Bob Gress


Tringa semipalmata

12 1/2 - 16 1/2 inches

21 1/2 - 28 1/2 inches

Willet in nonbreeding plumage
Willet in nonbreeding plumage

Description:   The pigeon-sized Willet has blue legs and a heavy, straight bill. Only slightly longer than the length of the head, the bill is black at the tip and gray-green at the base. In breeding plumage, it is heavily patterned with dark, gray-brown and white feathers on its back, neck, head and chest. Nonbreeding plumage is plain gray or brown. A bold black and white contrasting wing pattern is seen in flight.

Willets in flight
Willets in flight

  • Similar Species:   This species is separated from both species of yellowlegs by being larger, stockier and having blue legs. Willets are grayer in plumage with a straight bill which is shorter and heavier than that of a curlew, godwit or dowitcher.
  • Comments:  Willets breed in grassland-wetland landscapes in the central and northern Great Plains and winter along coastal areas from the southern United States through northern South America.

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Peep's Puddle
Text: Suzanne Fellows and Bob Gress
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