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What am I?

Very distinctive crested bird from a plover family. Often seen feeding on fields in mixed flocks with golden plovers and black headed gulls. West European lowland birds are largely residential and are joined in autumn and spring by flocks migrating to and from North Africa, India and parts of China. They feed mostly on insects and small invertebrates in a typical plover run and peck style Photo Credit: John Parish. 

How to spot them

Lapwings are easy to identify as both males and females have a iridescent colour and both have a crest. The plumage also stays the same all year round. They are more heavy set than other plovers and are very eye catching in flight with their large black rounded wings and bat like flapping style to which they owe their name. They look black and white in flight but show their purple and green sheen when caught by sun light, a unique effect among British birds.  

Where to see them

All along the Essex coast. Big flocks are often present in Steeple Bay, on Wallasea Island, the Strood, Abberton Reservoir, Rainham and Old Hall Marshes, and around Maldon.

Conservation status

The lapwing is red listed in the UK  

Did you know?

The Lapwing Act of 1926 was introduced to protect these birds from a decline caused by large scale egg collections for food. Another decline followed in the 1940s due to conversion of grasslands to arable farming, and further autumn crop sowing and use of agrochemicals in the 1980s made it impossible for lapwings to nest in April. It is possible to halt and reverse the decline in lapwing numbers with sympathetic farming methods, which include creation of a mosaic of spring sown crops and grassland, managing grazing pressure and maintaining damp areas on unimproved grassland 


Photo Credit: John Parish