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Northern Lapwing

From Opus

Revision as of 07:02, 14 May 2019 by Jmorlan (Talk | contribs)
Breeding plumagePhoto  © by nigel pyeCley, Norfolk, 11 May 2006
Breeding plumage
Photo © by nigel pye
Cley, Norfolk, 11 May 2006
Vanellus vanellus



JuvenilePhoto © by G6 UXUClifton Marshes, Lancashire, 17 May 2017
Photo © by G6 UXU
Clifton Marshes, Lancashire, 17 May 2017

28–31 cm (11-12¼ in) Wing span 67-72 cm

  • Crest
  • Black bill
  • Pinkish-brown legs
  • Upperparts look black but has green and purplish tints
  • White underparts
  • Black throat and breast
  • Orange-chestnut undertail coverts

Female and Juvenile are similar but have shorter crests


Breeds in Palearctic (British Isles, France, Scandinavia and Russia east to the Urals); winters to northern Africa, India, Myanmar and south China.

Common and widespread over much of the region. Breeds on Sandoy in the Faroes and in most of the British Isles, and from France east to the Urals. In the north found over all of Scandinavia (except the far north) and in Russia north to the White Sea. In the south breeds in central and south-central Spain, patchily in southern France, north Italy, Greece and central Turkey.

Resident in western Europe and in Turkey but summer visitor to remainder of breeding range. In winter found throughout France and Iberia, and on most Mediterranean coasts, in Turkey, Iraq and the Nile Valley.

Has been recorded on the Azores and Cape Verde Islands as a vagrant.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo © by Jeff RankinDraycote Water, Warwickshire, UK, November 2008
Photo © by Jeff Rankin
Draycote Water, Warwickshire, UK, November 2008

Breeds in open country, moors and farmland with short grass, bare soil or in crops, often near freshwater. Winters in muddy estuaries and marshes.


Highly gregarious forming large winter feeding flocks.


Slow direct flight with very 'flapping' wings. Aerobatic spring display flights.


Fledgling chickPhoto © by G6 UXUClifton Marsh, Preston, Lancashire, 1 June 2018
Fledgling chick
Photo © by G6 UXU
Clifton Marsh, Preston, Lancashire, 1 June 2018

Three to four eggs are laid in a ground scrape.

They are monogamous during the breeding season and are very protective of their nests, dive-bombing intruders.


Their diet consists of worms, insects and other small invertebrates, including larva and adult beetles, ants, flies and wasps. They like to feed nocturnally on moonlit nights.


Call: Variations on Pee, Peet and Pee-wit

Listen in an external program

In Culture

The name "lapwing" derives from the "lapping" sound its wings make, or the flapping flight. Other common names include Peewit and Green Plover


First winter plumagePhoto © by Alok TewariDist. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, North India, 24 December 2013
First winter plumage
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dist. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, North India, 24 December 2013
  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Fitter, R.S.R. (1966). Pocket Guide to British Birds. London: Collins.
  3. Peterson, RT, G Mountfort and PAD Hollom. 1993. Collins Field Guide – Birds of Britain and Europe, 5th Revised edition. London: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0002199001
  4. Grant, P.J., Svensson, L. (1998) Collins Bird Guide: the Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. HarperCollins ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  5. Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 March 2019).
  6. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, January 30). Northern lapwing. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:44, May 14, 2019, from
  7. BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Vanellus vanellus. Downloaded from on 28/03/2019.
  8. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.

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