The Lapwing is a 28-33 cm (11-13 in) long bird with a 67-87 cm (26-34 in) wingspan and a body mass of 128-330 g. It has rounded wings and a crest. It is the shortest-legged of the lapwings. It is mainly black and white, but the back is tinted green. The male has a long crest and a black crown, throat and breast contrasting with an otherwise white face. Females and young birds have shorter crests, and have less strongly marked heads, but plumages are otherwise quite similar.

Habitat and Distribution

It is common through temperate Eurasia. It is highly migratory over most of its extensive range, wintering further south as far as north Africa, northern India, Pakistan, and parts of China. It migrates mainly by day, often in large flocks. Lowland breeders in westernmost areas of Europe are resident. It is a wader which breeds on cultivated land and other short vegetation habitats. In winter it forms huge flocks on open land, particularly arable land and mud-flats.


It feeds primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. This species prefers to feed at night when there is moonlight.


3 - 4 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including horses and cattle.

Calls and Songs

The typical contact call is a loud, shrill `pee-wit` from which they get their other name of Peewit. Displaying males usually make a wheezy `pee-wit, wit wit, eeze wit` during their display flight.