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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 23.6 years (wild)
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Biology

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The lapwing is a gregarious species that forms large flocks between June and March (8). They feed on worms and a variety of invertebrates on or close to the surface of the soil (4). They are subject to food stealing by black headed gulls (Larus ridibundus); by feeding mainly at night, however, lapwings are able to minimise this threat (8). Nocturnal feeding increases around the time of the full moon, when these birds tend to roost during the day (5). During February, males begin to perform display flights over breeding territories in which they climb steeply upwards before tumbling down close to the ground (9). Between March and early July, three or four well-camouflaged eggs are laid in a scrape on the ground (4) (9). Incubation of the eggs takes between 26 and 28 days (3) and the chicks are able to run shortly after hatching (6). If the nest is threatened, lapwings will mob predators (4) and try to distract them away from the young, which lie flat against the ground (9).
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Conservation

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Conservation action has not been targeted at this species as yet. Ten percent of the British population presently occurs on sites that are designated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs). The species is monitored well at wetland sites, but the majority of the population on agricultural land is not sufficiently monitored. This is a key issue that is being addressed at present; good monitoring of populations allows conservationists to track the well-being of populations and can indicate when and where conservation action is needed (5).
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Description

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The lapwing is a familiar wader of open farmland (4). It has a striking appearance, with its black and white plumage, iridescent green and purple back and wispy crest (2). In flight they can be recognised by their rounded wing tips and slow wing beats. When flying, the dense flocks have a flickering appearance brought about by the alternating white then black of the flapping wings (2). This effect may have given rise to the common name of this species, which derives from the Old English word hleapewince, which means 'leap with a flicker in it' (6). Males and females are generally similar in appearance, but the male has a longer crest in summer. During winter, both sexes develop a buff-coloured border to the feathers of the upperparts. Juveniles have similar plumage to adults in winter, but they can be identified by their shorter, stumpy crests (2). The characteristic shrill call has given rise to the imitative local name 'peewit' (6).
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Habitat

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Inhabits open farmland and shows a strong preference for mixed farms that have large areas of arable land or grassland as well as unimproved grassland. They can also be found on winter stubbles, fallow fields, wet grassland, marshes and pasture (4) (3). During the breeding season, the lapwing needs sites with a combination of tilled ground and grassland rich in invertebrates, which are fed to the young (4).
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Range

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The lapwing has undergone a massive decline in numbers in the last 20 years (4), with a 49% reduction between 1987 and 1998 (7). It is found throughout Britain, but avoids high ground, with the highest numbers occurring in central and southern Britain (8). Many British lapwings are resident (they stay in this country throughout the year) but many birds migrate to Britain from Germany, Scandinavia, Denmark and Holland during winter (5). Globally, lapwings have a wide distribution, being found throughout Europe, reaching east to the Pacific coast of Russia (5).
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Status

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Included in the Birds of Conservation Concern Amber List (medium conservation concern) (3). Classified as a bird of conservation concern by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, but not a priority species (4). Receives general protection in the UK under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (5).
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Threats

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The decline of this once common bird was due to changes in land use, in particular the decline in mixed farming and the resulting loss of the former patchwork of arable and grassland areas (4). Furthermore, other agricultural changes have affected this species, including the use of fertilisers, denser production of crops, sowing seeds in autumn and winter and the increase in silage production (4).
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Status in Egypt

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Regular passage visitor and winter visitor.

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Brief Summary

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Lapwings belong in meadows. The name lapwing describes the sound its broad wings make when in flight. Lapwings are also known as peewits, thanks to their shrill call. They are very vocal during mating season and have glorious courting rituals in the air. In the spring, the male makes several simple hollows in the ground and the female chooses one to make brood her eggs in. Both males and females brood the eggs and care for the chicks. Should their nest with chicks be threatened, they will defend their young with all their might. Sometimes, you see them flying after a harrier, constantly attacking the raptor. If it really gets serious, they will pretend to have a broken wing, luring the predator away from the nest.
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Northern lapwing

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 src=
Flying
Alarmed in flowery meadow on Texel, the Netherlands

The northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), also known as the peewit or pewit, tuit or tew-it, green plover, or (in Britain and Ireland) pyewipe or just lapwing, is a bird in the lapwing subfamily. It is common through temperate Eurosiberia.

It is highly migratory over most of its extensive range, wintering further south as far as North Africa, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China. It migrates mainly by day, often in large flocks. Lowland breeders in westernmost areas of Europe are resident. It occasionally is a vagrant to North America, especially after storms, as in the Canadian sightings after storms in December 1927 and in January 1966.[3]

It is a wader that breeds on cultivated land and other short vegetation habitats. 3–4 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including horses and cattle.

In winter, it forms huge flocks on open land, particularly arable land and mud-flats.

Etymology

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 (the Oxford English Dictionary derives this from an Old English word meaning "to totter"),[4] or from its habit of drawing potential predators away from its nest by trailing a wing as if broken. The names peewit, pewit, tuit or tew-it are onomatopoeic and refer to the bird's characteristic call.[5]

The scientific name Vanellus is Medieval Latin for the northern lapwing and derives from vannus, a winnowing fan.[6]

Description

The northern lapwing is a 28–33 cm (11–13 in) long bird with a 67–87 cm (26–34 in) wingspan and a body mass of 128–330 g (4.5–11.6 oz).[7] It has rounded wings and a crest. It is also the shortest-legged of the lapwings. It is mainly black and white, but the back is tinted green. The male has a long crest and a black crown, throat and breast contrasting with an otherwise white face. Females and young birds have shorter crests, and have less strongly marked heads, but plumages are otherwise quite similar.

Display calls, Surrey, England

This is a vocal bird in the breeding season, with constant calling as the crazed tumbling display flight is performed by the male. The typical contact call is a loud, shrill "pee-wit" from which they get their other name of peewit.[4] Displaying males usually make a wheezy "pee-wit, wit wit, eeze wit" during their display flight; these birds also make squeaking or mewing sounds.

It feeds primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. This species often feeds in mixed flocks with golden plovers and black-headed gulls, the latter often robbing the two plovers, but providing a degree of protection against predators.

Like the golden plovers, this species prefers to feed at night when there is moonlight.

The northern lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Population decline

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Chick in the Netherlands
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Egg – MHNT

National surveys of England and Wales have shown a population decline between 1987 and 1998, and since 2009 the northern lapwing has had red list conservation status in the United Kingdom.[8] The numbers of this species have been adversely affected by intensive agricultural techniques. In the lowlands this includes the loss of rough grassland, conversion to arable or improved grassland, loss of mixed farms, and switch from spring- to autumn-sown crops. In the uplands, the losses may have been due to increases in grazing density. Natural England gives grant aid to help restore lapwing habitat within its Environmental Stewardship Scheme. The organisation suggests an option within this scheme called 'Fallow plots for ground-nesting birds'. Uncropped plots at least 2 ha (4.9 acres) in size provide nesting habitat and are located in suitable arable fields, which provide additional foraging habitat. Locating the plots within 2 km (1.2 mi) of extensively grazed grassland will provide additional foraging habitat. The plots are cultivated in the spring to produce a rough fallow, which is retained without the input of fertiliser or pesticides.[9] In addition to agricultural intensification and land-use change, predation of nests and chicks contributes to wader declines, including of lapwing. By radio-tagging lapwing chicks, and using automatic radio tracking systems, the timing of chick predation can be revealed, which provides additional insights in to the importance of different predators. Lapwing chicks are predated both in the day and at night, with mammalian predators having the greatest impact.[10]

In Armenia, the population decline and loss of breeding habitats was also documented; the threats are thought to be intensification of land use and hunting, but further investigations for threat clarification are required.[11]

Cultural significance

Harvesting eggs

"Plover's eggs" were an expensive delicacy in Victorian Europe, mentioned in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, about aristocratic British society in 1920–40. In the Netherlands, there is a cultural-historical competition to find the first peewit egg of the year (het eerste kievietsei). It is especially popular in the province Friesland, but there are also regional competitions. Gathering peewit eggs is prohibited by the European Union, but Friesland was granted an exception for cultural-historical reasons. The Frisian exception was removed in 2005 by a court, which determined that the Frisian executive councillors had not properly followed procedure.[12][13] As of 2006 looking for peewit eggs is permitted between 1 March and 9 April, though harvesting the eggs is now forbidden. In 2008 the first egg was found on 3 March, in Eemnes, Utrecht,[14] and the first egg of 2009 was found on 8 March in Krabbendijke.[15] Over the last century, the first peewit egg has been found earlier and earlier in the year. This is ascribed to both increased use of fertiliser and climate change, causing the growth of grass needed for egg laying to occur earlier.[16]

Mythology

The bird referred to in English translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses, book 6, as lapwing[17] is probably the northern lapwing. Tereus is turned into an epops (6.674); Ovid presumably had the hoopoe in mind, whose crest indicates his royal status and whose long, sharp beak is a symbol of his violent nature.

In Ireland

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King Philip II with a feather in his cap.

The northern lapwing was declared the Republic of Ireland's national bird by a committee of the Irish Wildlife Conservancy in 1990.[18][19][20] In the Irish language it is called pilibín, "little Philip", supposedly a reference to Philip II of Spain (King of Ireland 1554–58), who often wore a feather in his cap.[21]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2017). "Vanellus vanellus (amended version of 2016 assessment)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T22693949A111044786. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22693949A111044786.en. Downloaded on 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Vanellus vanellus (Linnaeus, 1758) – Northern Lapwing". Species Inventory. The Natural History Museum. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  3. ^ Godfrey, W. Earl (1986). The Birds of Canada (Revised ed.). National Museum of Natural Sciences. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-660-10758-5.
  4. ^ a b "Lapwing". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  5. ^ "Peewit". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 397. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  7. ^ "Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus". oiseaux-birds.com. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Lapwing Vanellus vanellus". Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside. British Trust for Ornithology. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Lapwings thrive on fallow plots". BTO News (269): 17. March–April 2007.
  10. ^ Mason, L. R.; Smart, J.; Drewitt, A. L. (2018). "Tracking day and night provides insights into the relative importance of different wader chick predators". Ibis. 160 (1): 71–88. doi:10.1111/ibi.12523.
  11. ^ "Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus in Armenia". Armenian Bird Census, TSE NGO].
  12. ^ Walinga, Ruurd (17 March 2005). "Dertig jaar juridische strijd om kievitseieren" [Thirty year legal battle for plover's eggs] (in Dutch). Friesch Dagblad. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  13. ^ Stichting De Faunabescherming and Nederlandse Vereniging tot bescherming van Vogels vs. het college van gedeputeerde staten van Fryslân, LJN: AT0660, Rechtbank Leeuwarden, 03/518 BESLU & 03/547 BESLU (Rechtbank Leeuwarden 16 March 2005).
  14. ^ "Eerste kievitsei van 2008 gevonden" [First plover egg of 2008 found] (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  15. ^ "Dutch spring heralded by lapwing egg". Radio Netherlands / Equi Parvi. 8 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  16. ^ "Vinddatum eerste kievitsei in Friesland" [Dates of Discovery of the First Plover's Eggs in Friesland] (in Dutch). Milieu & Natuurcompendium. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  17. ^ Garth, Sir Samuel; Dryden, John; et al. "'Metamorphoses' by Ovid".
  18. ^ Reilly, Jerome (23 October 2016). "Lapwing's tricolour feathers fit the bill". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  19. ^ "National Bird of Ireland – Northern Lapwing – Light Future Art".
  20. ^ Egan, James. 1000 Facts About Ireland. Lulu.com. ISBN 9780244110734 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Fitzgerald, Ann (25 March 2017). "Opinion: Connecting with nature a sure-fire way to bolster your wellbeing". Farming Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2020.

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Northern lapwing: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN
 src= Flying Alarmed in flowery meadow on Texel, the Netherlands

The northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), also known as the peewit or pewit, tuit or tew-it, green plover, or (in Britain and Ireland) pyewipe or just lapwing, is a bird in the lapwing subfamily. It is common through temperate Eurosiberia.

It is highly migratory over most of its extensive range, wintering further south as far as North Africa, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan and parts of China. It migrates mainly by day, often in large flocks. Lowland breeders in westernmost areas of Europe are resident. It occasionally is a vagrant to North America, especially after storms, as in the Canadian sightings after storms in December 1927 and in January 1966.

It is a wader that breeds on cultivated land and other short vegetation habitats. 3–4 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including horses and cattle.

In winter, it forms huge flocks on open land, particularly arable land and mud-flats.

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