Scientific name: Vanellus vanellus

Did you know: The Lapwing, also known as the peewit due to its distinctive calls, is a Red List species, reflecting its significant decline in recent times.

What Do Lapwings Look Like? (how to identify them)

Lapwings, part of the Vanellinae subfamily, are ground-nesting birds similar to plovers and dotterels. They are easily recognised by their slow, irregular wingbeats and a shrill, wailing cry. 

Typically ranging from 25 to 41 cm in length, these birds are known for their striking appearance, including a black and white colouration and a unique round-winged shape in flight, accentuated by a splendid crest.

Differences Between Male And Female Lapwings

While not significantly different in appearance, male and female Lapwings can often be distinguished by subtle differences in size and the vibrancy of their plumage. Males tend to exhibit slightly more pronounced colouration, especially during the breeding season.

What Do Lapwings Eat?

Lapwings primarily feed on worms and insects, using their black beaks to forage in various habitats. Their diet is crucial for their survival, especially in their breeding grounds where they require ample nourishment.

Where Do Lapwings Live? (inc. migration info)

Lapwings are commonly found in upland, marine, intertidal, farmland, wetland, and grassland habitats. They breed across lowland Britain but have experienced a decrease in breeding locations due to changes in land management and increased predation. In winter, they are widely distributed in lowland Britain, shifting eastward and increasingly frequenting coastal wetlands, possibly in response to milder winters.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Lapwings)

The Lapwing is noted for its noisy, tumbling display flights and its distinctive calls, which sound like ‘peewit’. These calls are particularly prominent in spring and are an integral part of the bird’s identity and charm.

Fun Lapwing Facts (kid friendly)

  • Lapwings are also known as peewits, imitating their distinctive calls.
  • They have a unique, wavering flight pattern that sets them apart.
  • The Lapwing’s long crest and glossy dark green plumage make it a handsome sight.
  • These birds can change their location in response to weather changes.
  • Lapwings lay an average of 4 eggs per clutch.
  • They are talented in their tumbling display flights.
  • These birds are now considered a Red List species due to their declining numbers.
  • Lapwings are adaptable, feeding in various habitats including wetlands and farmlands.
  • They are a beloved sign of spring with their presence and calls.
  • Lapwings were traditionally known as plovers or dotterels in mediaeval times.

Facts About The Lapwing

Diet: Worms and insects.
Bird Family: Plovers
Length: 28-31cm
Wingspan: 82-87cm
Weight: 140-320g
Scientific Name: Vanellus vanellus

The Lapwing Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Lapwing Images

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