The adult Common Sandpiper has grayish brown upper parts, white underparts, short yellowish legs and a bill with a pale base and dark tip. Juveniles are barred above and have buff edges to the wing feathers.
This species is very similar to its closely related American counterpart, the slightly larger Spotted Sandpiper, in its non-breeding plumage, but its darker, olive legs and feet and the crisper wing pattern in flight tend to give it away; non-breeding Common Sandpipers also have some barring on the wings visible at close range.
Like that species, it has a distinctive stiff-winged flight low over the water. The Common Sandpiper breeds across most of Europe and Asia. It nests on the ground near fresh water.
The Common Sandpiper forages by sight on the ground or in shallow water, picking up small food items such as insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates. It may also catch insects in flight.