Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs? - Ottawa, ON (1 Viewer)

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
United States
Greater for me as well.

The bill looks slightly up turned in the thumbnail but when you open up the thumbnail it looks straight.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Tough to get a real feel for how thick the bill base is, but my first thought on this blurry silhouette was Lesser.
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
Looks more like Lesser. Very thin bill, Greater has a thicker bill. I am not seeing an upturn at all, so to each their own on that I guess. Also it is slender, not much girth to the body.
 

Andy Adcock

Fractious Member of ill repute
England
Looks more like Lesser. Very thin bill, Greater has a thicker bill. I am not seeing an upturn at all, so to each their own on that I guess. Also it is slender, not much girth to the body.

Completely agree, appears all round, too slender for Greater IMHO.
 

njlarsen

Well-known member
Opus Editor
I think greater with the light having made judging the thickness impossible. Not even a lesser would have this thin a bill -- and it is just too long for lesser.

Niels
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Lesser usually has a bill approx. as long as the head (bill measured from tip to insertion at the frons and head measured from bill insertion at the frons to the farthest point of the nape). Carefully measuring on the screen with an enlarged image I get approximately 36 units for head length and 40 units for bill lenght, producing a ratio of about 1.11
I think you cannot rule out Lesser, as that bill length/head length ratio seems to be within species variation. Photos can produce funny visual effects and that's why actually measuring does help in these cases.
 

tril42

Suzanne Britton
Thank you for your thoughts, everyone. I leaned towards Lesser as well, but it is a tricky one.
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
I think greater with the light having made judging the thickness impossible. Not even a lesser would have this thin a bill -- and it is just too long for lesser.

Niels

A greater has a thicker bill than a lesser though. I would definitely not say the bill thickness is impossible to judge here in my opinion.
 

HeadWest

Well-known member
Not sure how people are getting lesser here. The bill is way too long in proportion to the head. You can't really judge size of a lone bird. The thickness of the bill is less reliable than length in proportion to the head, and I don't really think you can judge thickness from this image anyway.
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Not sure how people are getting lesser here. The bill is way too long in proportion to the head. You can't really judge size of a lone bird. The thickness of the bill is less reliable than length in proportion to the head, and I don't really think you can judge thickness from this image anyway.

See post #11.
 

tom baxter

Well-known member
Not sure how people are getting lesser here. The bill is way too long in proportion to the head. You can't really judge size of a lone bird. The thickness of the bill is less reliable than length in proportion to the head, and I don't really think you can judge thickness from this image anyway.

There’s a few subtle distinctions that I would present in response to this. You can judge size of a long bird when it comes to proportions in photos that are not too distant. This bird does not have the girth of Greater Yellowlegs. It is true that the length of the bill is slightly more reliable than the thickness I suppose, but the length of the bill is still spot on for Lesser Yellowlegs. In this photo, the bird is fairly close, it’s a reasonably good picture just with strong backlighting. If anything, a thicker bill would be more subject to trickery than a thinner bill. Any backlit aspect of the photo is going to show in strong contrast here, it definitely would not look smaller than it is. However, in this photo everything supports Lesser. It looks exactly like one in terms of body proportion, and bill thickness, bill length, and bill shape. A strongly backlit photo doesn’t negate the strong case for Lesser here.
 

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