Within days of arriving on the breeding grounds, Spoon-billed Sandpiper courtship begins. Males perform display flights over favored areas to attract females and establish territories. Once together, a pair becomes inseparable. They forage within earshot of each other, copulate frequently, and prospect for places to nest. This video, shot during the first few days of a pair’s seasonal courtship, captures some of these rarely witnessed behaviors including an attempted copulation and a nest scrape display.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the most critically endangered birds in the world. To learn more about the threats they face on breeding, migration, and wintering grounds, as well as efforts to save them, see our feature article from Living Bird magazine.

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