July 25, 2017 – White-tailed Lapwing or White-tailed Plover (Vanellus leucurus)
These lapwings are found in parts of the Middle East, northeastern Africa, and Asia. Their diet includes a variety of invertebrates, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, worms, and mollusks, as well as some small vertebrates. They capture prey near the water’s surface while wading, or sometimes while swimming, and also forage on dry ground. Breeding in small colonies, they build their nests in shallow scrapes, sometimes lined with plant material and surrounded by mud. Both parents care for the chicks and aggressively defend them from predators.
June 16, 2017 – Black-headed Lapwing or Black-headed Plover (Vanellus tectus)
Found across central Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia and Somalia, these lapwings frequent dry and grassy areas. They eat insects, including their larvae, and gastropods, foraging mostly at night. Their nests are scrapes in the ground and their breeding seasons vary by region. Their calls are described as metallic sounding and similar to those of the Spur-winged Lapwing.
June 7, 2017 – Grey-headed Lapwing or Grey-headed Plover (Vanellus cinereus)
Breeding in parts of northeastern and eastern China and neighboring areas of Russia and Japan, these lapwings winter in Nepal, northeast India, Bangladesh, southern China, and parts of Southeast Asia. Though their diet is poorly known, they likely eat insects, worms, and mollusks, foraging while wading. Monogamous pairs defend breeding territories in wetlands, building nests on the ground from grasses. Both parents incubate the eggs and defend the chicks. Multiple pairs may join defensive flocks to mob predators that enter their territories.
April 8, 2017 – Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor)
These large plovers are found in much of western, southern, and eastern Australia, as well as Tasmania. They forage in very short grass for insects, worms, spiders, mollusks, and occasionally seeds, darting quickly after their prey. Breeding after rains, they build scrape nests on the ground, lining them with dry grasses and sometimes sheep droppings. Parents defend their nests aggressively, flying at humans that get too close and often using a broken-wing display to distract predators.
March 19, 2017 – River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii)
These lapwings are found near large rivers and lakes in parts of South and Southeast Asia. They eat insects, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks and may also eat frogs and tadpoles. Performing courtship displays and nesting on the ground, they create a small scrape for their eggs. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to nest disturbance and loss of their eggs and chicks to humans, dogs, livestock, and other animals, as well as habitat destruction from hydroelectric projects.
January 26, 2017 – Long-toed Lapwing or Long-toed Plover (Vanellus crassirostris)
These lapwings are found in eastern central Africa from South Sudan to South Africa, with small isolated populations farther north and west. Usually foraging on floating vegetation, they eat aquatic and terrestrial insects and their larvae, as well as small snails. During the dry season they forage in mud around the edges of ponds and in gravelly waterways. They build a variety of different types of nests depending on habitat, including shallow scrapes in the mud or in short grass near the water, cups constructed from plant materials on floating vegetation, and high platforms of plant materials in swampy areas.
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.