Ian’s Bird of the Week – Northern Lapwing


Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Northern Lapwing ~ Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 3/14/16

I’m wading through all the non-Australian galleries on the website making them ‘mobile-friendly’, and I came across what is for me an iconic species. It brought back memories of when I first saw Northern Lapwings in September 1961 on the way back from summer holidays in Co. Kerry. The Lapwings were gathered in large flocks with Golden Plover on the Curragh in Co. Kildare, a large grassy plain west of Dublin probably better known for its race track. I was very struck by the crests of the Lapwings – they seemed very exotic by Irish standards – and I was motivated to find out what they were.

I was 14 then and already interested in wildlife but birds hadn’t previously attracted my attention until several interesting sightings that year which included, in addition to the Lapwings, a good view of a Common Kingfisher and a mysterious sandpiper on a golf course in Co. Kerry, probably a Common Redshank Anyway, my parents responded to my interest and gave me, when we got home, a copy of the classic Peterson et al. Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. At Christmas 1961, a pair of binoculars came my way, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) by Ian

Northern Lapwings are a characteristic bird of farmland and marshes in Europe, occurring on both arable land and pasture. They breed throughout Britain and Ireland and their numbers are augment in winter by migrants from northern Europe. The bird in the first two photos is a male in breeding plumage. Breeding males have longer crests and more black on the face and throat than females. When I photographed these I was in a hide in Finland at the lek where Ruffs were displaying, but birds of other species came from time to time. The Lapwings were nesting and this young fledgling was wandering around the hide.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) Chick by Ian

In non-breeding plumage, the crests are shorter, the throat is white and there are buffish fringes on the feathers covering the wings (fourth photo). This one is feeding in the estuary of the River Boyne downstream from Drogheda.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) by Ian

I’m making good progress with website. I’ve finished more than 1,100 galleries and have less than 400 to go. I hope to finish them off in a few weeks, and maybe you’ll get the bird of the week more regularly then!


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

“And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Lev 11:19 KJV)

Ian, thanks for all your hard work on the website. It can be very time-consuming when working behind the scenes. (I know from experience.) When you finish, we will be here waiting on the great Bird of the Week articles you share with us. Lapwings have become one of my favorite birds to watch at the zoos. Though, I don’t think I have seen the Northern one.




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