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Banded Lapwing, Vanellus tricolor

Banded Lapwing
Photo copyright Dave Watts


The Banded Lapwing is a large plover (to 270mm) with a brown back and a broad, black breast band extending to the sides of the neck and under the eyes. The throat is white. There is a black cap and a white eye-stripe, a yellow eye-ring and bill and a small red wattle at the base of the bill. The legs are pinkish-grey. The wings are brown and the upperparts are white.

In flight, the Banded Lapwing reveals a  broad, white wing bar and rump, black flight feathers and a black tail band. The name "Lapwing" is a reference to the quick, clipped wing-beats in flight.

The Banded Lapwing is the smaller, less common and less conspicuous of the two species of lapwing in Tasmania. The U-shaped breast band distinguishes it from the Masked Lapwing.


Banded Lapwings prefer open, short grasslands such as plains and heavily grazed agricultural lands and airfields.


Banded Lapwings eat insects, worms, spiders, snails and slugs found among short grass. They may eat seeds in dry times. They use foot-tapping to disturb insects from cover, running to catch anything that moves.


The nest is a scrape on the ground, lined with dry grass and even sheep droppings. Three to four eggs are laid, and both eggs and chicks are speckled and well-camouflaged. Chicks freeze at the first sign of danger. Parents defend their nest and young, sometimes flying at human intruders, and sometimes pretending to drag a broken wing to draw attention away from the young.


A plaintive "er-chill-cher" or "kew-kew, kew-kew.They are often heard at night. (Audio recordings courtesy of David Stewart/Nature Sound)
Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania


Banded Lapwings are endemic to Australia. They are found in the east, south and west of the mainland.

In Tasmania, the species is uncommon and nomadic throughout the east, north and midlands where suitable habitat occurs.