The Purple Sandpiper is a comprehensive account of the biology of this wading bird, based partly on joint studies and surveys by members of Scottish bird ringing groups over the past 50 years. The Purple Sandpiper breeds across the Arctic regions of Canada to the northern islands of Russia, and south to the mountain tops of northern Europe. It is an unusual wader because it is associated with rocky seashores outside the breeding season, unlike many other wader species that occupy estuarine mudflats or beaches. It also spends the winter further north than any other wader, some even enduring the darkness and cold of the Arctic winter. Its unusual lifestyle has a knock-on effect on its diet, body composition, moult, sexual dimorphism, sex ratio and timing of migration. Most migrate only a relatively short distance, but those that breed in northern Canada cross the Atlantic to Europe in early winter. The number of Purple Sandpipers is declining, but the cause is not known.