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The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Lapwing

Discover all there is to know about this farmland bird with our favourite lapwing facts, including what the bird eats and where exactly you can find a northern lapwing in the UK. Take a look!

What does a lapwing look like?

An adult lapwing is a primarily black and white bird with hints of bright colours on its feathers such as greens, reds and yellows. Just take a look at the picture below and you’ll notice it’s rainbow-like, scaled appearance is incredibly unique and beautiful. You’ll also notice the lapwing’s distinctive, black quiff on its head and it’s bright red and pink legs. You’ll have little problem identifying a lapwing if you were to see one!

What do lapwings eat?

Lapwings feed mostly on insects, worms and spiders, but they are also known to eat small amounts of seeds and grains. The lapwing has suffered large declines over recent years which has resulted in its Red List status. If you’re looking to take care of the lapwings in your local area, or you’re looking to attract other birds to your garden, we recommend our mixed wheat that can be enjoyed by all wild birds.

Lapwing facts

Standing at approximately 30cm tall with a wingspan of around 85cm, there are around 650,000 lapwings in the UK with 140,000 breeding pairs present. The lapwing is also commonly referred to as the northern lapwing, peewit, tuit or the green plover – or perhaps even by its scientific name Vanellus vanellus!

A lapwing chick

A lapwing chick is a spotted brown and cream colour that’s advantageous when hiding from its predators. Lapwing chicks are quite vulnerable as they are unable to regulate their own body temperatures during their first few weeks, meaning they rely heavily on their mother to brood them. However, they are known to forage for food themselves.

The northern lapwing’s song

The lapwing bird is known as a peewit in some areas of the UK and that’s due to its remarkably unique song. If you listen closely to the clip below, you’ll notice the lapwing’s call sounds just like “pee-wit” – hence the nickname!

Click here to listen

Lapwing habitat and behaviour

Lapwings can be found in the UK all year round (which is great news if you’re hoping to spot one!) and are particularly common in lowland areas of the North of England. Large concentrations spend most of the winter in areas with arable land and mud-flats like Morecambe Bay, Somerset Levels and Humber and Ribble estuaries.

Throughout the breeding season during the spring and summer months, they can even be found in northern parts of Scotland. If you do spot a lapwing in your area, don’t forget to log it on our Birdspotter map for others to see!

During nesting season, around 3-4 lapwing eggs are laid on the ground. The parents are known to be extremely defensive birds and will defend their chicks noisily and aggressively – even from cattle!


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