Animals -> Birds -> Shorebirds -> Yellowlegs


The Greater Yellowlegs, referred to locally as twillick, is reported to have been eaten in May, September and October by the Micmac (Mi'kmaq) [1]. The Lesser Yellowlegs was also used as food by the Hare (Sahtu), who roasted or grilled them over a fire or boiled or fried them [2]. The Red Earth Cree are also reported to have eaten yellowlegs [3].


1.         Mackey MGA, Bernard L, Smith BS: Country Food Consumption by Selected Households of the Micmac in Conne River Newfoundland in 1985-86. In.; 1986.

2.         Hara HS: The Hare Indians and Their World. In. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada; 1980: 95-147.

3.         Meyer D: Appendix I: Plants, Animals and Climate; Appendix IV: Subsistence-Settlement Patterns. In: The Red Earth Crees, 1860-1960. Volume 1st edition, edn.: National Musem of Man Mercury Series; 1985: 175-185-200-223.

Yellowlegs are part of a large family of wading and probing shorebirds including sandpipers, snipes, whimbrels, phalaropes, woodcocks, godwits, and dowitchers. Yellowlegs are delicately-built and have a long, fine bill, a long neck, long, bright yellow legs, and feet with hind toes and limited webbing. They are all migratory traveling from their northern breeding range to their southern wintering range [1]. North American yellowlegs include the Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), breeding across central Canada and southern Alaska [2], and the Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), breeding across boreal regions from Alaska to the eastern James Bay coast [3].


1.         Richards AJ: Seabirds of the Northern Hemisphere. Limpsfield: Dragon's World; 1990.

2.         Elphick CS, Tibbitts TL: Greater Yellowleg (Tringa melanoleuca). In: The Birds of North America Online. Edited by Poole A. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 1998.

3.         Tibbitts TL, Moskoff W: Lesser Yellowleg (Tringa flavipes). In: The Birds of North America Online. Edited by Poole A. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 1999.


Distribution maps provided below, unless otherwise stated, were obtained from Birds of North America Online, maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and all pictures provided below were obtained from Encyclopedia of Life
Greater Yellowlegs
Supplier: Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: Dick Daniels (
Lesser Yellowlegs
© Marv Elliott
Creator: Marv Elliott