Hardy denizen of rocky coastlines regularly pounded by heavy surf. In winter, often in flocks foraging among large rocks. Generally dark grayish; purple sheen only visible at close distance in good light. Bill droops slightly and has an orange base. In winter, legs are yellowish-orange and belly is white with gray spots. Rarely seen on remote Arctic breeding grounds. Breeding plumage more brownish with contrasting dark speckling on back and breast.