These birds forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and earthworms, also plant material. They are difficult to see, being well camouflaged in their habitat. They will squat down and not flush from cover until the intruder is within a metre of the bird. They then fly a short distance before dropping back into vegetation.
Adults are smaller than Common Snipe and have relatively shorter bill. The body is mottled brown on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye. The wings are pointed and narrow, and yellow back stripes are visible in flight. When seen, the distinctive bobbing movement, as if the bird is on springs, has an almost hypnotic quality.
The male performs an aerial display during courtship, and has a song like a galloping horse. It is silent in winter.