lapwing

lapwing, common name for some members of the family Charadriidae, which includes the plovers. Lapwings are almost all inland or upland birds, found in all temperate and tropical regions except North America. The lapwing of Eurasia ( Vanellus vanellus ), also called the green plover or pewit, is a noisy and conspicuous bird distinguished by a strikingly upcurved, slender crest. Its back is an iridescent deep green, the crown and crest greenish black, the throat and upper breast black, the underparts white, and the tail coverts fawn. The lapwing has been much exploited in Europe for its flesh and eggs but is now protected by law. The name derives from the irregular lag of its wingbeats in flight. The "blacksmith" group of lapwings of Africa, with sharp spurs on the bend of the wings, are named for the metallic ring of their cries. Other lapwings of Africa, S Asia, and Malaya have prominent red or yellow wattles at the base of the bill, such as in the red-wattled lapwing, Lobivanellus indica. Lapwings nest on the ground in scooped-out shallow depressions lined with shells, pebbles, or vegetation; both sexes incubate and care for the young. Lapwings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Charadriidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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