This species is a full long-distance migrant (del Hoyo et al.
1996). It breeds from late-May to August (Hayman et al.
1986) in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al.
1996), although it may also form small colonies (Flint et al.
1984). After breeding adults disperse to coastal moulting sites, the onward migration to wintering grounds then continuing into October and November (Hayman et al.
1986). The species often flies in large flocks (Hayman et al.
1986) and forages in groups outside of the breeding season (del Hoyo et al.
1996), occasionally aggregating into huge flocks of several hundreds of thousands of individuals at favoured sites (e.g. in Mauritania) (Hayman et al.
1986). Habitat Breeding
The species breeds in marshy, swampy areas in lowland moss and shrub tundra (Johnsgard 1981, Flint et al.
1984, del Hoyo et al.
1996) near wet river valleys (Johnsgard 1981), lakes and sedge bogs (Flint et al.
1984), as well as on swampy heathlands in the willow and birch zone near the Arctic treeline (Johnsgard 1981), in open larch Larix
spp. woodland close to water (del Hoyo et al.
1996), and occasionally on open bogs in the extreme north of the coniferous forest zone (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding
On passage the species may frequent inland wetlands (Hayman et al.
1986), sandy beaches with pine Pinus
spp. stands, swampy lowlands near lakes (Flint et al.
1984) and short-grass meadows, but during the winter it is more common in intertidal areas along muddy coastlines, estuaries, inlets, mangrove-fringed lagoons and sheltered bays (del Hoyo et al.
1996) with tidal mudflats or sandbars (Johnsgard 1981). Diet Breeding
When breeding the species feeds on insects, annelid worms, molluscsand occasionally seeds and berries (del Hoyo et al.
In intertidal areas the species's diet consists of annelids (e.g. Nereis
spp. and Arenicola
spp.), bivalves and crustaceans, although it will also take cranefly larvae and earthworms on grasslands and occasionally larval amphibians (tadpoles) and small fish (del Hoyo et al.
1996). Breeding site
The nest is a depression positioned on a dry elevated site (del Hoyo et al.
1996) such as a tundra ridge (Johnsgard 1981) or hummock (Flint et al.
1984), often between clumps of grass (del Hoyo et al.
1996) or under a thicket (Flint et al.
1984). Management information
In the UK there is evidence that the removal of Spartina anglica
from tidal mudflats using a herbicide is beneficial for the species (Evans 1986).