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Masked Lapwing - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 23:26, 26 August 2023 by THEFERN-13145 (talk | contribs) (alt tax)
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Adult V. m. miles
Photo © by Mehd Halaouate
Queensland, Australia, 27 April 2005

Alternative Name: Spur-winged Plover; Northern Masked Lapwing

Includes: Black-shouldered Lapwing

Vanellus miles


Adult V. m. novaehollandiae
Photo © by Ken Doy
Wellington Point, Queensland, Australia, July 2015

30–37 cm (11¾-14½ in)

  • wattles and bills yellow
  • crown and hindneck black
  • Back and wings smooth brown
  • rump and underparts white
  • tail tip black
  • legs and feet red/orange


  • wattles smaller
  • Feathers on upperparts edged with black and buff



Australia and New Zealand.


The subspecies may be elevated as "Masked Lapwing" (strict sense: ssp. miles) or "Northern Masked Lapwing", V. miles, and "Black-shouldered Lapwing", V. novaehollandiae (novaehollandiae). Reference [7] follows this scheme.


Subspecies novaehollandiae
Photo © by Ken Doy
Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia, 5 September 2018

Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • V. m. miles: "Masked Lapwing". New Guinea and northern Australia; visitor to southern Wallacea. [white neck and long facial wattles]
  • V. m. novaehollandiae: "Black-shouldered Lapwing". East and south-eastern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. [black neck, sides of breast and small, rounded wattles]

V. m. novaehollandiae arrived at Southland, New Zealand in the 1930s. It has spread throughout New Zealand. There, it is known as the Spur-winged Plover which leads to confusion with the Northern Hemisphere species of the same name [1].


Wetlands and in other moist, open environments.



Juvenile novaehollandiae
Photo © by bievreJJ
Lilidale, Victoria Australia, 24 November 2013

Their diet mainly consists of items such as molluscs, worms, millipedes, centipedes, insects and crustaceans. They will also take frogs, leaves and seeds on occasion.


A clutch of three to four yellowish or brownish-olive eggs with brownish-black or purple spots or blotches are laid. The nest is a scrape on the ground often lined with twigs, leaves, dried grass, or small pebbles. Otherwise unlined nests may be found in newly plowed fields. Occasionally nests on roofs of buildings.


Call is a shrill staccato rattle, loud penetrating and stuttering – often heard at night. Also single notes.


Resident and dispersive, responding to new food sources.


Photo © by Ken Doy
Wellington Point, Queensland Australia, 19 August 2017
  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-shouldered Lapwing (Vanellus novaehollandiae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/467302 on 20 December 2019).
  4. Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J. (eds) 1993. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds. Vol. 2, raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  5. Woodley, K. 2013. Spur-winged plover in Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz
  6. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, December 26). Masked lapwing. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:22, December 31, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Masked_lapwing&oldid=932576305
  7. HBW and BirdLife International (2022) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 7. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v7_Dec22.zip

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