Piercing calls and distinctive wing markings make the otherwise subdued Willet one of our most conspicuous large shorebirds. Whether in mottled brown breeding plumage or gray winter colors, Willets in flight reveal a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. These long-legged, straight-billed shorebirds feed along beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores. Willets are common on most of our coastline—learn to recognize them and they’ll make a useful stepping-stone to identifying other shorebirds.
Like Killdeer, Willets will pretend to be disabled by a broken wing in order to draw attention to themselves and lure predators away from their eggs or chicks.
Information from the All About Birds website, www.allaboutbirds.org, © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.