This monogamous bird is strongly territorial and will return year after year to breed at the same nest site. The first males to arrive at the breeding grounds occupy the largest territories, although these shrink as additional males arrive and compete for space. Pairs meet and mate, laying eggs that are incubated for 19 to 23 days and hatch between early July and early August. After the chicks have emerged from their shells, each family moves to a new area for around two weeks until the chicks can fly. During this time both parents tend to their young but the male takes over in the final few days. They migrate to the wintering grounds at the end of August (2).
Searching amongst low vegetation, wet meadows and in water, the spoon-billed sandpiper uses its unusual bill to probe for small invertebrates. It will also forage by pushing its bill into the muddy sand of coastal areas. Chicks eat mainly small insects and seeds (2).