GREATER YELLOWLEGS

Tringa melanoleuca

Status:  Fairly common regular spring and fall migrant statewide. Rare casual winter visitor Platte Valley.

Documentation: Specimen: UNSM ZM12650, 23 Apr 1910 Lancaster Co.

Taxonomy:  No subspecies are recognized.

Spring:  Mar 1, 2, 2 <<<>>> May 30, 30, 31

An early migrant, this species arrives in mid Mar and peak numbers occur during early Apr. There are three records for late Feb, likely early migrants: 21 Feb 2016 Webster Co, 27 Feb 2016 Buffalo Co, and one photographed 27 Feb 2017 Buffalo Co.

A few are observed in May, but records in late May and Jun are possibly immature non-breeders not completing migration. There are 18 reports 6-21 Jun; fall arrival is in late Jun. One near Niobrara, Knox Co 6 Jun 2013 had an injured wing.

  • High counts: 300 in the eastern Rainwater Basin 11 Apr 2009, 260 there 7 Apr 2001, and 152 there 3 Apr 1999.

Fall:  Jun 22, 22, 24 <<<>>>Dec 4, 5, 5

Greater Yellowlegs is one of a handful of shorebird species expected throughout Oct and into early Nov. Later Dec and Jan records are cited under Winter.

Adults (including failed breeders) begin their return migration as early as mid-Jun, peaking in late Jul-mid Aug. As migration progresses into Aug, juveniles begin to outnumber adults and by mid-late Aug most birds seen are juveniles. Peak numbers of juveniles occur in the first half of Sep.

  • High counts:  63 at Lake McConaughy, Keith Co 17 Sep 2006, 60 at Mallard Haven WPA, Fillmore Co 17 Sep 1995, and 56 at Lake McConaughy 24 Aug 2007.

WinterThis species may remain well into Dec, and even Jan. There are these reports of lingering birds which may have been attempting to winter: 17 Dec 1993 Keith Co, 27 Dec 2001 Lincoln Co, 28 Dec 2006 Lake Ogallala, Keith Co, 28 Dec-1 Jan 1961-62 Adams Co (Jorgensen 2012), 29 Dec 2017 Scottsbluff CBC, 14 Jan 1997 Stateline Island, North Platte NWR, Scotts Bluff Co, 15 Jan 2000 Lake Ogallala (Jorgensen 2002), and 17 Jan 2015 Rowe Sanctuary.

Abbreviations

NWR: National Wildlife Refuge
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum
WMA: Wildlife Management Area (State)
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)

Acknowledgement

Photograph (top) of a Greater Yellowlegs at Fontenelle Forest, Sarpy Co 10 Apr 2012 by Phil Swanson.

Literature Cited

Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2012.  Birds of the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska.  Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2018.  Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org


Birds of Nebraska – Online