The Willet is a larger shore bird that is part of the family of birds called the sandpiper.

They are about 5 inches long with a gray head back and wings and a white or cream colored tummy.

Males and female look alike, but the female is a bit larger.

The willet breeds from Canada to California and Nevada.

It winters along the Pacific Coast from Oregon and points south and the Atlantic coast from Carolinas to northern South America.


The willets live on beaches, freshwater and salt marshes, lake shores, mudflats and wet prairies.

The willet often wades up to its belly in the water searching for food. It eats insects, worms, small crabs, mollusks and fish. Its diet also includes plant matter like grass and seeds.

The willet nests in colonies. The female chooses a site in a hidden location, where she will lay between 3 and 5 eggs in a slight depression on the ground or in a clump of grass. Shortly after birth the chicks are able to feed themselves.

They eggs will take about 30 days to hatch and when they do both parents will help to care for them.

The willet is strange in that when the chicks are about 2 weeks old she will leave them while the male stays to care for the chicks until they learn to fly.

Willets are very territorial birds and will defend their nesting and feeding areas with great ferocity. They are noisy when disturbed.

It will fly overhead and continue calling out until the threat goes away. It often perches on bushes, trees, fencepost, or rocks.
Find out more about the Willet over at Wikipedia »

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