Wild Birds

White-tailed Lapwings or White-tailed Plovers

The White-tailed Lapwings or White-tailed Plovers

The White-tailed Lapwings or White-tailed Plovers (Vanellus leucurus) is a wader in the lapwing genus.

Distribution / Range

It breeds semi-colonially on inland marshes in Iraq, Iran, and southern Russia. Four eggs are laid in a ground nest.

The Iraqi and Iranian breeders are mainly residents, but Russian birds migrate south in winter to south Asia, the Middle East, and north east Africa. It is a very rare vagrant in Western Europe, the first example in Britain being found at Packington, Warwickshire on 12 July 1975.


This elegant medium-sized lapwing is long-legged and fairly long-billed. It is the only lapwing likely to be seen in other than very shallow water, where it picks insects and other small prey mainly from the surface.

Adults are slim erect birds with a brown back and foredeck, paler faces, and grey breasts. Its long yellow legs, pure white tail, and distinctive brown, white, and black wings make this species unmistakable. Young birds have a scaly back and may show some brown in the tail.

Call / Vocalization

The breeding season call is a peewit, similar to Northern Lapwing.


The White-tailed Lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.


  • A. R. Dean, J. E. Fortey and E. G. Phillips, British Birds 70:465–471 (November 1977)BirdLife International (2004). 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern, Marchant and Prater, Shorebirds ISBN 0-7099-2034-2

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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