Traveling Yellowlegs

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Elegant beauty

As holds true for a significant number of bird species we might encounter on Curacao, this elegant wader is a traveller from afar. During northern hemisphere summer time it roams the shores of arctic and subarctic North America. When the going gets tough it takes to the wing and travels all the way to South America, sometimes even as far as Tierra del Fuego! Lots of them incorporate a refuelling stop on Curacao in their flight schedule, and during years of more abundant food resources a significant number will stay put for weeks or even months.

The lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) feeds on all kinds of critters that can be found on or in the mud fringing shallow lagoons and inland bays, like brine flies, fiddler crabs, snails and the like. You might happen upon quite large groups of these birds, because it is one of the most common shore birds in the Caribbean, especially during the migration period.

Taking pictures of these, sometimes quite noisy, birds is not too difficult, because they do not seem to consider humans as threatening as they probably should. Their vocalizations tend to alarm other birds in the vicinity, though, much like the behavior the Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is infamous for (also see this post).

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