Frequents sandy shores, dunes and sandy rivers where it occurs singly or in small parties.
In flight a soft 'wit' or 'twit' or 'twirit'. Alarm note a loud 'kittup' or a long drawn out 'churr'.
Breeds throughout the year, mainly August - September. The eggs are usually three-quarters covered with wind-blown sand on hot days. Eggs usually 2, pointed ovals, creamy buff, marked with fine line of dark brown scattered over the surface. Incubation 27 - 33 days. Nestling period 35 - 38 days.
Immature lacks any black on head but white band across nape is present. Nestling grey above, mottled with black forming lines down centre of crown and black, ear coverts and sides of back; white below.
The male has a more conspicuous black line behind eye and usually small dark patches on sides of breast. The birds from the western Cape are white below and grey-brown above. Two races are recognized. Eyes brown, bill and legs black.
A species mainly coastal, but also recorded from the larger rivers and inland lakes.