Willets appear to be rather plain, nondescript shorebirds when
at rest, but display a striking black-and-white wing pattern when in
flight. Willets have two distinct subpopulations, one nesting on the
freshwater marshes in the interior of the country, and another favoring salt
marshes along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
near freshwater marshes in South Dakota, preferably near native
grasslands. Occurs in many aquatic habitats during migration and in
Diet: Varies depending on location. On the northern Great
Plains, insects make up a large portion of the diet. It also feeds on
crustaceans, small mollusks, small fish, and some vegetation. On wintering
grounds along the coasts, Willets consume large numbers of crabs and other
crustaceans, small fish, and marine worms.
Behavior: Forages by walking along the shore or in
shallow water, picking food items off the water or ground's surface, or by
probing with its bill.
Migration: Summers in the northern Great Plains and parts of the western U.S.
Winters along coastlines of the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.
Conservation Status: Numbers were seriously
depleted in the 19th century due to hunting pressure. Numbers have
recovered since, but local declines have been noted in some areas due to
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Willet
eNature.com - Willet
Photo Information: April
30th, 2005 -- Highway 81 Lakes north of Madison -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Willet photos.