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the web of life in southern Africa

Tringa flavipes (Lesser yellowlegs) 

Kleingeelpootruiter [Afrikaans]; Kleine geelpootruiter [Dutch]; Petit chevalier [French]; Kleiner gelbschenkel [German]; Perna-amarela-pequeno [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Scolopacidae

Tringa flavipes (Lesser yellowlegs)   

Lesser yellowlegs, New Jersey, USA. [photo Jim Gilbert ]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds in western Alaska and Canada, travelling south in the non-breeding season to the USA and South America, while it is a vagrant to the Old World, including southern Africa. Here it has been recorded three times: once at Harare, Zimbabwe in December 1979 and the other two at the Berg River estuary in August 1983 and January 2000. It generally prefers coastal mudflats, pans, lagoons, vegetated inland lakes, sewage works, ponds, rivers and flooded grassland.


Usually forages on open mud flats or shallow water, plucking up prey or alternatively sweeping its submerged bill from side to side.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.