General Description

Masked Lapwings have a light brown upper body and white underparts. The back, top of head, sides of breast and wing tips are black. The bill and large wattles hanging from the face are yellow. They have thorny yellow spurs on the elbows (carpal joint) of the wings. Bill to tail length up to 38 cm. Juveniles have a darker back and no wattles or wing spurs.


Masked Lapwings nest in open and often hazardous areas including sports fields, carparks and rooftops. They aggressively defend the nest by swooping on intruders or try to lure them away by posing as injured prey. Three to four eggs are laid in a shallow scrape in the ground. Chicks leave the nest and feed themselves hours after hatching. Lapwings spend the majority of their time searching for food on the ground, feeding on insects, their larvae and worms.


Indonesia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Central, northern, eastern mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Open grassy paddocks, wetlands, intertidal mudflats and parkland.

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