Vanellus vanellus, commonly known as the Northern Lapwing, is a wading bird species that is native to Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa. These birds are well-known for their striking physical appearance and distinct calls, and they are popular among birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.
The Northern Lapwing is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 28-31 cm in length and weighing between 120-220 grams. They have a distinctive crest of feathers on their head, with black and white markings on their wings and back. They have long, slender legs and a short, straight bill. During the breeding season, their plumage becomes more vibrant, with iridescent green and purple feathers on the neck and breast.
The Northern Lapwing is a migratory bird that breeds in open fields, meadows, and wetlands across Europe and Asia. They prefer areas with short vegetation and muddy or sandy ground, as they use these areas to build their nests. During the winter, they migrate to coastal areas, estuaries, and wetlands in southern Europe and North Africa.
The Northern Lapwing is a ground-dwelling bird that feeds primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. They use their long legs to probe the soil for prey, and they are also known to feed on seeds and small vertebrates, such as frogs and lizards.
The Northern Lapwing is known for its distinctive calls, which are often heard during the breeding season. They have a variety of calls, including a loud, piercing cry that is used to warn other birds of potential predators. During the breeding season, pairs will form and build a nest on the ground, usually in a well-hidden spot in the vegetation. The female will lay around 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for around 28-30 days. The chicks are precocial, meaning they are born with a full set of feathers and can walk and feed themselves shortly after hatching.
The Northern Lapwing is listed as a species of "Near Threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting. To protect these birds, it is important to establish protected areas, such as nature reserves and national parks, and to regulate hunting and land use activities.