December 17, 2016 – Masked Lapwing, Masked Plover, or Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus miles)

These lapwings are found in northern and eastern Australia and New Guinea and have also established a population in New Zealand. They feed on a variety of marine and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Though formerly protected in New Zealand, their stable population and aggression toward other local species lead to the loss of their protected status in 2010. Their nests are built on the ground in open areas, including playgrounds, and the flat roofs of buildings. Both parents build the nests and care for the chicks, fiercely defending them from intruders.


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