A species that is active in the daytime and roosts during the night, the grey-tailed tattler feeds by probing for worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and occasionally fish (9). Before it migrates to its Siberian mating grounds, it is believed that crabs play an increasingly important role in the grey-tailed tattler’s diet. This prey item can be caught in shallow water, in which the tattler may immerse its head completely so as to grab the crab with its bill. The grey-tailed tattler will repeatedly throw down the crab in order to remove the legs, finally washing it prior to feeding (3). This species locates its prey by sight (9), and can be seen bobbing and teetering as it darts around foraging (3). The grey-tailed tattler forages either alone or in loose groups (2).
The grey-tailed tattler breeds from late May to late August beside stony riverbeds in Siberia, and is generally a ground-nesting bird. It builds its nest in a shallow depression, although it may also use the abandoned nests of other birds, and lays a clutch of approximately four eggs (2). Grey-tailed tattlers first begin to breed at about two and a half years of age (7), and both sexes care for the young (2).
Grey-tailed tattlers are generally found near to, but not among, other shorebird species (7).