Northern Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus




Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Brown with black markings

Number of Eggs:

4 - 5

Incubation Days:

26 - 28

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Open ground.

Nest Material:

Grass stems, leaves.





Northern Lapwing: Large, unique plover with black breast, face, crown, and long upright head plumes; back is green-tinged purple and copper. Belly and sides are white, uppertail is white with a black tip, and undertail coverts are rich rufous-orange. Wings are dark with white tips; legs are pink. Sexes are similar. Winter adult shows less black on face and has white edges on dark back feathers. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has fine spots on dark back, and shorter head plumes.

Range and Habitat

Northern Lapwing: This species is found in a wide variety of open areas with bare ground or low grasses. It is widespread in Europe and Asia; this bird occasionally wanders in the autumn to eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, extreme eastern Quebec, and the northeastern United States from Maine to Maryland.

Breeding and Nesting

Northern Lapwing: Breeds in a wide variety of open habitats ranging from wetlands to pastures and old fields. Lays four or five brown eggs with black markings that are primarily incubated by the female for 26 to 28 days. Chicks are independent soon after hatching but are guarded by one or both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Northern Lapwing: Feeds in open fields and areas of bare ground, where it hunts for insects and small invertebrates by sight. Will run a few steps, pause and probe in ground, run a few steps.


Northern Lapwing: Call is a plaintive whistle "peewit."

Similar Species

Northern Lapwing: Rare vagrant and unlikely to be confused with any species in North America.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X