Northern Lapwing

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Common Name: Northern Lapwing
Scientific Name: Vanellus vanellus

Size: 11-12.2 inches (28-31 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia and Africa; Most populations of this species are fully migratory and travel on a broad front out of Europe although some breeding populations in more temperate regions are sedentary. Breeding: The species shows a preference for breeding on wet natural grasslands, meadows and hay meadows with short swards and patches of bare soil at low altitudes (less than 1,000 m). It will also breed on grassy moors, swampy heaths, bogs and arable fields. Non-breeding: During the winter the species utilizes large open pastures for roosting and forages on damp grassland, irrigated land, stubble and ploughed fields, riverbanks, lake shores, fresh and saline marshes, drainage ditches, estuaries and mudflats (Africa).

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 5,200,000 - 10,000,000 Mature individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends. In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline. This species suffered past declines as a result of land-use intensification, wetland drainage and egg collecting. Today it is threatened by reduced breeding productivity as a result of intensifying and changing agricultural practices, especially the improvement of grasslands (e.g. by drainage, inorganic fertilizing and reseeding). Important migratory stop-over habitats for this species on the Baltic Sea coastline are threatened by petroleum pollution, wetland drainage for irrigation, land abandonment and changing land management practices leading to scrub overgrowth. Clutch destruction may also occur during spring cultivation (using machinery) on arable fields. The species is susceptible to avian botulism so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease, and may suffer from nest predation by introduced mammals (e.g. European hedgehog Erinaceus europeaus) on some islands.

Diet: Insects such as beetles, ants, Diptera, crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, mayflies, cicadas, Lepidoptera, spiders, snails, earthworms, frogs and small fish. It may also eat seeds or other plant material.

Breeding: The nest is a shallow scrape in short grass vegetation. The species breeds from April to July in solitary pairs although pairs may also nest close together, even semi-colonially, in optimal habitat. The species may roost communally at night during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons and after breeding the species gathers in large flocks for migration and remains highly gregarious during the winter in flocks of several thousand.

Cool Facts: The name lapwing has been variously attributed to the "lapping" sound its wings make in flight, from the irregular progress in flight due to its large wings, or from its habit of drawing potential predators away from its nest by trailing a wing as if broken Peewit describes the bird's shrill call. This is a vocal bird in the breeding season, with constant calling as the crazed tumbling display flight is performed by the male.

Found in Songbird ReMix European Edition 2

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