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Plovers and lapwings

Lapwing - adult female in breeding habitat pasture

Image: Andy Hay

One of the largest groups within the ‘waders’ or shorebirds. Quite short to long legs, but short bills; feed with characteristic run-stop-tilt forward action on areas of open sand, mud, shingle, bare earth or short turf. 

Lapwings have broad, rounded wings, plovers have pointed wings. 

Plovers may be separated into smaller groups, including the ‘ringed’ plovers (several species worldwide, two in the UK) and the ‘golden’ type, with spangled upperparts and extensive areas of black beneath in breeding plumages.

Many are long-distance migrants and several can be found in large flocks on dry ground, well away from water.

Dotterel

This medium-sized member of the plover family is unusual in that the adult female is brighter than the male - an indication of their role-reversal in raising the young. Adults have largely grey-brown... More...

Dotterel

Golden plover

A medium-sized plover with a distinctive gold and black summer plumage. In winter the black in replaced by buff and white. They typically stand upright and run in short bursts. Very wary on the bre... More...

Golden plover

Grey plover

In summer it has silver and black spotted upperparts, a black face, neck and belly and in winter, it loses the black feathers and takes on a browny-grey look. In both plumages, the rump is white and i... More...

Grey plover

Lapwing

Also known as the peewit in imitation of its display calls, its proper name describes its wavering flight. Its black and white appearance and round-winged shape in flight make it distinctive, even wit... More...

Lapwing

Little ringed plover

A small plover with a distinctive black and white head pattern, similar to ringed plover. It has a black beak and pale (not orange) legs. Close views reveal a distinctive yellow eye-ring. In flight it... More...

Little ringed plover

Ringed plover

The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird. It is brownish grey above and whitish below. It has a orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs and a black-and-white pattern on its he... More...

Ringed plover