A Rather Noisy, Black Shouldered Bird With A Highly Conspicuous, Vividly Yellow Wattle – Meet The Masked Lapwing!
A rather noisy, black-shouldered bird with a highly conspicuous, vividly yellow wattle!
MEET THE MASKED LAPWING
The masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) is a large, common, and conspicuous bird with two distinct species, the largest being the Charadriidae, measuring 14 inches, and weighing in at 13 oz. The masked lapwing has an all-white neck and large yellow wattles, the male having a distinctive mask and larger wattles than the female.
The Spur-winged plover has a black neck stripe and smaller wattles.
The female masked lapwing has a smaller wattle than the male.
The Masked Lapwing is native to Australia, particularly the northern and eastern parts of the continent, New Zealand, and New Guinea.
Masked Lapwings are most common around the edges of wetlands and in other moist, open environments, but are adaptable and can often be found in surprisingly arid areas. They can also be found on beaches and coastlines.
Masked Lapwings feed on insects and their larvae, and earthworms. Most food is obtained from just below the surface of the ground, but some may also be taken above the surface. Birds are normally seen feeding alone, in pairs, or in small groups.
Breeding season usually happens after Winter Solstice (June 21), but sometimes before and the nesting pair then defends its territory against all intruders by calling loudly, spreading their wings, and then swooping fast and low, and where necessary striking at the interloper with their feet and attacking other animals on the ground with a conspicuous yellow spur on the carpal joint of the wing. They are quite prepared to make a nest on almost any stretch of open ground, including suburban parks and gardens, school ovals, and even supermarket carparks and flat rooftops. Chicks reach full height after 4 to 5 months and will often stay with the parents for 1 to 2 years resulting in groups of 3 to 5 birds over the summer months.
Widely spread, this species is regarded as at Least Risk on the IUCN red list.