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Widely distributed in Europe and Asia and migrating to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. The species is always associated with running water when feeding and breeding,
These birds feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates including adult flies, mayflies, beetles, crustacea and molluscs. They often forage along roadsides in winter, flushing with a sharp chi-cheep call and flying up further along the road but after some distance turning back to return to the original location.