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Lapwing

What am I?

I am a wading bird.

Where do I come from?

In summer many of us can be found on lowland and farmland areas throughout the UK where we raise our young. We can also be found on wetlands and marine environments. In winter we are joined by our friends who migrate from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia, The Netherlands, and Northern Europe.

A bit about me

Seen in large, wheeling flocks during the winter, I am a handsome bird (if I do say so myself!) with an elegant black crest on my head. At a distance I appear black and white, but my back has a beautiful green and purple sheen to it.

I am also sometimes called a “peewit”, which refers to the piercing sound I make when I call. I am easy to recognise in flight due to my distinctively rounded, floppy-looking wings, and even my Latin name “Vanellus”, (meaning “winnowing fan”) refers to my flying technique.

I like to eat worms and insects and will also feed at night, especially when there is a full moon.

Local spotlight

I can be found on a variety of habitats all around the Solent area, including the Bembridge Harbour and the Medina and Yar estuaries on the Isle of Wight, the northwest Solent, Southampton Water and Chichester Harbour.

Conservation status

I’m red listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas, but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the non-breeding water bird assemblages which these regions are protected for. Sadly, I have been in decline in Britain since the 1940s due to large-scale changes in farming techniques, which affects the areas in which we breed.

Fun fact

Did you know that we once had our own parliamentary act – the Lapwing Act of 1926 was introduced to stop people collecting our eggs for food.