It is primarily recorded from small or large rivers, usually with sand or gravel bars, often within or adjacent to subtropical/tropical broadleaved forest, from the lowlands up to at least 1,500 m, and marshes/lakes near wet grasslands (Choudhury 2000, A. W. Tordoff in litt. 2006). It is generally solitary but may aggregate into small flocks and family groups during winter (D. Wilson in litt. 2006, Pradhan 2007) and tends to frequent inaccessible and undisturbed areas. The species is known to breed and roost in Chir pine forest (A. W. Tordoff in litt. 2006, D. Wilson in litt. 2006), and may also nest in Terminalia myriocarpa (G. Maheswaran in litt. 2016). Four nests located in Bhutan in 2003-2007 were solitary and located in large Chir pines on ridges or steep slopes at 500-1,500 m, near the confluence of a small forest stream with a larger river (Pradhan 2007, Pradhan et al. 2007). Nesting took place in March-early June, and individuals then moved up to 30 km to feed on sand bars in large braided river systems in winter (Pradhan 2007, Pradhan et al. 2007).