Frequents coastal mud-flats and shorelines, especially rocky shores; occasionally on inland waters.
A summer migrant from the Palaearctic found along the coast and on offshore islands.
When disturbed they fly away low over the water uttering their call of 'kit-it-it-it' or 'chidda-chidda-chidda'.
The present species breeds in the Arctic regions only, coming south of the Equator in all continents during the northern winter.
In winter plumage the head is grey and white, the upper parts brown mottled with grey and white. The throat and underparts are white with a broad mottled grey and white band across the chest. The pointed bill is black and the legs orange.
In summer plumage the head and neck attain a black-and-white pattern, the scapulars and wing-coverts a bright chestnut.