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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus

Common Name:
Willet

Family:
Scolopacidae

Localities:
Above Fort Peck Dam, Montana   May 9, 1805

Pill will willet

Belonging to the sandpiper family, the willet shares the stilt-like legs and long, tapered bill with many members of the family.  Within the family, godwits and curlews have these features in the extreme.  The willet is a drab brown and gray bird that can be difficult to distinguish from other shore birds probing the water margins for worms, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.  But once the bird takes wing and the bright white wing and tail bands become visible, the willet is easy to identify.  Lewis was astute in recognizing the bird was both similar and different from shore birds he had seen in the East, yet he placed the willet with plovers, which are an entirely different family of probing birds best distinguished by their shorter and more blunt bills.


Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, May 9, 1805--I killed four plover this evening of a different kind from any I have yet seen. it resembles the grey or ...  more>>

Sound
Sound    willett (0:00, 82 kb)
Credit: Wind Cave National Park
 

See following caption
willet

See following caption
willet

See following caption
willet

See following caption
Willet


 
 
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