Basic Description

The Willet (Tringa semipalmata) is a large shorebird measuring between 14 and 16 inches in length. It has a wingspan of approximately 26 to 31 inches and weighs around 8 to 12 ounces. This bird has dark gray-brown plumage on its upper body, while the underparts are white with black stripes. Its bill is long, straight, and thick, which makes it easy for the bird to probe into mud or sand for food.

Where To Find This Bird

Willets can be found along the coasts of North America from Alaska down through Mexico during their breeding season. During migration, they travel as far south as Peru and Chile in South America. These birds prefer open coastal habitats such as sandy beaches, mudflats, salt marshes, shallow bays, estuaries and lagoons.


Willets are considered nomadic when it comes to habitat because they follow different water bodies depending on seasons or tides. During breeding season they tend to be found nesting in high arctic wetlands meadows in areas like Alaska whereas during winter months these birds take up residence along southern coastlines.


As previously mentioned Willets have long bills that enable them to probe deep into sand or mud flats looking for prey such as crabs, shrimp small fish and aquatic insects among other things.This bird also indulgesIn shellfish including clams oysters etc.Prey typically depends on what’s available at any given time so the diet of these birds may change accordingly.

Cool Facts

– The name “Willet” comes from their distinctive call – “pill-will-willet.”
– Willets often use distraction displays where one parent will feign injury near a predator to lure it away from its nest or offspring.
– This bird has a unique behavior called “foot-trembling,” where it rapidly vibrates one leg while standing in shallow water. It is believed that this helps to stir up prey hidden in the sand or mud.
– Willets are known for their long migrations; some birds have been recorded flying over 4,000 miles between their breeding and wintering grounds.
– These birds are monogamous, meaning they mate with only one partner each breeding season.