Head, neck and upperparts are pale brown. Wings are bronze with a tinge of green. The
wing coverts are white with the outer feathers black, these features are only seen when in
flight. The upper breast is black. The lower breast is white. The forehead and throat are
black with a white border. The legs are long and a reddish brown. Both sexes are similar
with their size being approximately 13 - 15 inches (33 - 38 cm).
Lapwings are extremely vigilant birds when nesting and begin taking defensive action
when a potential predator is more than 200 feet from their nest. At times they will
quietly run from the nest in a crouched position. At other times, when approached they
adopt a crouched frozen position. Their more usual action however is to stand upright and
begin calling. These calls serve to alert their chicks plus other neighboring birds to the
presence of the intruder. These alerting calls are then followed by more aggressive
action. The Lapwings may run at the intruder or swoop at the intruder from above. At times
neighboring Lapwings will join in the swoop attack and mob the intruder. Sometimes the
swoop attack will develop into a peck attack, where the birds will attempt to peck at the
intruder with their bill and feet. This peck attack is particularly used when the intruder
is a reptile. The swoop attack tends to be usesd with other predators including falcons
and caracaras. This aggressive behavior when nesting extends to humans and both the swoop
and peck attacks will be used.
Family - Plovers
Other Names - Cayenne Lapwing
Latin Name - Vanellus chilensis
Range - Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and southern South America
Movietown seafront, port of spain
Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London
A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London
Jeffrey R. Walters, 1990. Anti-Predatory Behavior of Lapwings: Field Evidence of Discriminative Abilities. Wilson Bulletin, Vol. 102, 49 - 70
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