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Conservation status: Red

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 without its splendid crest. This familiar farmland bird has suffered significant declines recently and is now an Red List species.



Latin name

Vanellus vanellus


Plovers and lapwings (Charadriidae)

Where to see them

Lapwings are found on farmland throughout the UK particularly in lowland areas of northern England, the Borders and eastern Scotland. In the breeding season prefer spring sown cereals, root crops, permanent unimproved pasture, meadows and fallow fields. They can also be found on wetlands with short vegetation. In winter they flock on pasture and ploughed fields. The highest known winter concentrations of lapwings are found at the Somerset Levels, Humber and Ribble estuaries, Breydon Water/Berney Marshes, the Wash, and Morecambe Bay.

When to see them

All year round. Leaves upland areas after the breeding season and moves to lowland fields for the winter. Large numbers of N European birds arrive in autumn for the winter.

What they eat

Worms and insects


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-140,000 pairs650,000 birds-




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

Red Alert appeal

1 in 4 UK birds are now on the Red List of Conservation Concern. Together, with your support, we can help shape their future.

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