Common, conspicuous, and often noisy large wader (shorebird) of varied coastal habitats, especially beaches and mudflats; also nearby fields and locally inland. Winter flocks number locally in hundreds. Probes in mud and uses its bill to pry open shellfish (mainly mussels and cockles, not oysters). Distinctive, with boldly pied plumage, long bright orange-red bill, thick pinkish legs. In flight shows broad white wing stripe, white rump and tail with broad black tail tip.