The common sandpiper has a varied diet, feeding on a range of insects, spiders, molluscs, crustaceans and annelid worms, as well as occasionally taking tadpoles, adult frogs and toads, small fish and some plant material, such as seeds (2) (5) (6). However, studies have shown the winter diet in some areas to comprise mainly marine invertebrates, and not many insects (7). The common sandpiper usually forages during the day, alone or sometimes in small groups, with prey commonly taken from the surface, rather than by probing into mud (2). At night, groups of over 100 individuals may come together to roost (2) (5).
A monogamous species, the common sandpiper breeds between May and June, nesting in scattered single pairs (2) (5). The nest is a shallow depression in the ground, sometimes situated amongst shrubs and trees (2) (5), into which three to five (usually four) eggs are laid. The clutch is incubated by both the male and female, hatching after 21 to 22 days. The chicks are greyish-brown, with faint dark speckling on the back, and are tended by both adults, although one adult, often the female, usually leaves before the young fledge at 22 to 28 days (2). The common sandpiper migrates at night, either singly or in small flocks, with immature birds leaving the breeding grounds later than the adults, and often remaining on the wintering grounds during the first summer of life (2) (5). This species has been recorded living for up to 12 years in the wild (2).