Status and distribution Scarce breeder with patchy and discontinuous range in the Western Palearctic. In the north-west breeds on coasts in east & south-east England and from northern France to Germany and Denmark, south Sweden, the islands of Oland and Gotland and west Estonia. Recently found breeding for the first time in Slovenia, Poland and north-west England. Further south breeds on the northern Biscay coast of France and in the Mediterranean in Spain, France and Sardinia, the north Adriatic coast of Italy, in Hungary and northern Greece. Also breeds from the Danube Delta in Romania, north around the Black Sea coast and east to the Caspian. In Turkey breeds mainly in Central Anatolia, also in the far east of the country and in Armenia and Azerbaijan. In North Africa breeds in Tunisia and in Sinai, possibly also Algeria.
Migrant or partial migrant in northern parts of range but dispersive in the south, leaving breeding grounds in late July-September. Small numbers winter in Britain and North-West Europe but many more in Iberia and North-West Africa, Egypt and Iraq. Return movement begins as early as late February but most takes place in April. As a vagrant recorded north to Iceland and Faroes, on the Azores, Madeira, Canary Is and Cape Verde Is.
Habitat Breeds close to shallow water, often brackish, in lagoons, river deltas, water meadows and flooded areas. Out of the breeding season mainly on muddy and sandy shores, estuaries, mudflats and saltmarshes.