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the web of life in southern Africa

Tringa melanoleuca (Greater yellowlegs) 

Grootgeelpootruiter [Afrikaans]; Grote geelpootruiter [Dutch]; Grand chevalier [French]; Großer gelbschenkel [German]; Perna-amarela-grande [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 melanoleuca (Greater yellowlegs)   

Greater yellowlegs, California, USA. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds from southern Alaska to Canada, heading south in the non-breeding season to the USA and South America, while it is a vagrant to Europe, Japan and South Africa. Here it has only been recorded once at Noordhoek, Western Cape in December 1971; it generally prefers coastal and inland wetlands.


It does most of its foraging in shallow to fairly deep water, plucking up prey and sometimes chasing fish with its head and neck extended.


  • 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.