The buff-breasted sandpiper is the only North American shorebird that courts using a lek mating system. Males gather on display grounds, where they attempt to attract visiting females by lifting a wing to expose the bright white plumage of the underwing. If more than one female is present, the males spread both wings, angle their bills in the air, shake their bodies up and down and utter several short calls. Females then approach the male they wish to mate with; successful males may mate with more than one female. The female builds a nest on the ground and lines it with grass. Three to four eggs are laid and incubated by the female for three weeks. Remarkably, the chicks leave the nest less than 12 hours after hatching in order to feed themselves (6).
Buff-breasted sandpipers feed on earthworms, aquatic insects and larvae, and seeds (7). They forage in small flocks of up to 15 birds, walking in a crouched position and lifting the legs high with each step. They move quickly, frequently changing direction and bobbing the head like a pigeon. During the non-breeding season, they are fairly unafraid and can be approached (2). They migrate bi-annually from various breeding grounds to favoured wintering grounds in autumn, and back to the breeding grounds in spring (8).