The other lapwing

At this time of year around Newstead the evening is often marked by the cries of Masked Lapwings wheeling overhead. These handsome, highly territorial plovers are well-known to locals. Less well-known is a close relative, the Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor.


Banded Lapwing, Saligari’s Road on the Moolort Plains, 1st June 2014.

Smaller than the Masked Lapwing, this species is strictly a bird of the plains. Small numbers gather there over winter and I came across two groups of eight at the weekend. Good fortune meant that one of the groups was more interested in a large puddle from the weekend rain, than me, watching intently from nearby. This gave me close views for about fifteen minutes at what can be often be quite a skittish bird.


This photograph provides a good idea of their preferred habitat.

In southern Banded Lapwings favour recently ploughed paddocks and closely cropped, even stony pasture, where they pick about for small invertebrates.


A mirror image … almost!

Banded Lapwings possess a number of distinctive features – they have a broad black breast-band, black cap and white bib. A fleshy red wattle at the base of the bill is prominent at close range. In flight a white wing bar is clearly evident.


The birds were happily bathing in the puddle.

I’ve seen Banded Lapwings in most seasons and suspect they breed out on the plains in some years, although I’ve never found a nest. They are known to be highly nomadic, flying large distances in search of good feeding and breeding habitat.


The white wing-bar sets the Banded Lapwing apart from the larger Masked Lapwing.


Preening after bathing.

2 responses to “The other lapwing

  1. What a pleasant surprise and great viewing for you.

  2. Lynette Amaterstein

    what a lovely visitor. Very striking.

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