The great knot begins reproducing at around two years of age (7). Breeding takes place between late May and late July (6), when the female typically lays four eggs (7). The eggs generally hatch between mid-June and mid-July after an incubation period of about 22 days (7).
After breeding, the great knot departs the breeding grounds and begins its migration south to warmer wintering grounds, which it normally arrives at between August and October (6). Often travelling in mixed flocks with other knot and turnstone species (Arenaria), the great knot relies on stop-over sites during the long journey, where it can feed and restore its energy, enabling the bird to continue with its migration (6) (8).
During the breeding season, adult great knots feed on berries from plants such as Empetrum, Dryas and Vaccinium species, and the kernels of dwarf pine, while young great knots feed exclusively on insects and spiders. During the winter, when inhabiting coastal areas, and when stopping over on its lengthy migration, the great knot may also consume a variety of other animals, such as bivalves, gastropods, sea cucumbers, crabs and shrimps (6) (7), and can be seen methodically thrusting its bill deep into the mud to search for these coastal invertebrates (4). When migrating, large flocks of up to several thousand individuals may forage together, while at the wintering site, the great knot typically forages in small groups (6).