Masked lapwing in exhibit

Masked Lapwing

Scientific Name
Vanellus miles miles
Geographic Range
Northern Australia, New Guinea, and smaller islands in Indonesia
Insects (also plant matter)
Masked lapwing in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Masked lapwings are stocky wading birds that have a bright yellow bill and face, a black crown, a white throat and chest, and gray wings. Their long legs are reddish-brown. These birds inhabit a variety of habitats, including wetlands and deserts.

Masked lapwings pair off during breeding season and form small flocks the rest of the year. Pairs can be territorial when they are nesting. Nests are built in short grass often near water, made up of a depression in the ground lined with debris and pebbles. Females lay three to four eggs per clutch, which incubate for around a month. Their offspring can swim from a very early age and mature between 1-3 years of age.

Did You Know?

  • Some masked lapwings have a thorny black and yellow spur on the front of their wings, which can be used to scare off predators.
  • These birds have adapted well to living on the edges of urban areas near humans. Sometimes, they build nests in school playing fields or on rooftops.
  • To lure predators away from nests, these birds may dive at intruders or pretend to have a broken wing.


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