Lapwing Vanellus vanellus   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae
BTO Codes: L., LAPWI EURING No: 4930
Number in Britain: 130 thousand Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 2 Concern, most in Europe; Vulnerable
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 30 cm Wingspan: 84 cm Weight: M/F: 230 g    
Scientific name from: L.: vannus a winnowing fan (in ref. to its floppy flight)
World Distribution: Europe, Asia & n Africa
Habitat: pasture, wet meadow, on migration estuaries
Diet: Invertebrates from ground, will feed at night, esp when bright moon
TitBit: Ever since Chaucer wrote of the 'false lapwynge, ful of treacherye', the lapwing has had an association with deceit, perhaps because of its beautiful plumage and joyous display flights.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 130 thousand Pairs in 2009
    Winter: 620 thousand individuals in 2006/07
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1981-2007),
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Estuaries
    Also common in: Marsh, Reedbed, Lakes, Ponds
    And found in: Grass/Heath, Moorland, Along Rivers, Along Streams
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries
European Population Size:
    Summer: 1.1 to 1.7 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA, NERC (41)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from the Winter Farmland Bird Survey

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 47 x 33 mm Egg Weight: 26.0 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 798
Clutch Size: 4 eggs 3.76 ± 0.54 (2 - 5) N = 4425
Incubation: 25- 34 days   by the: Female (occ. Male)
Fledging: 35 - 40days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: 12 Apr (25 Mar - 25 May)
Number of Broods: 1
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.705 ± 0.031       
Juvenile Survival: 0.595 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: Typical Lifespan: No data
Maximum Recorded Age: 21 years 1 months 15 days (set in 1987)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: D
Wing Length Adult: 231.3 ± 6.3 Range 221 - 241 mm, N =748
Juvenile: 227.1 ± 9.2 217 - 238 mm, N =385
Male: 233.7 ± 5.9 224 - 243 mm, N =304
Female: 228.3 ± 5.4 220 - 236 mm, N =205
Weight Adult: 250.3 ± 25.23 Range 214.0 - 295.0 g , N =733
Juvenile: 223.9 ± 25.50 189.0 - 276.0 g , N =376
Male: 252.4 ± 25.05 217.0 - 300.0 g , N =296
Female: 248.3 ± 28.28 211.0 - 300.0 g , N =203
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Northern Lapwing
Gaelic: Curracag Welsh: Cornchwiglen
Danish: Vibe Dutch: Kievit
Finnish: Töyhtöhyyppä French: Vanneau huppé
German: Kiebitz Hungarian: Bíbic
Icelandic: Vepja Irish: Pilibín
Italian: Pavoncella Norwegian: Vipe
Polish: Czajka zwyczajna Portuguese: Abibe-comum
Spanish: Avefría Swedish: Tofsvipa
Local Names: Peewit, Green Plover, Hornpie, Flopwing
Collective Noun:Deceit (or Desert)

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Shrubb, M. 2007 The Lapwing Poyser, London [598.612 SHR]
   Spencer, K.P.G. 1953 The lapwing in Britain A. Brown & Sons, London [598.612 SPE]
   Ennion, E.A.R. 1949 The Lapwing Methuen, London [598.612 ENN]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides