Vanellus vanellus | Northern Lapwing | Pilibín



Conservation status

This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result.

The last IUCN Red List assessment, carried out in 2016, notes the Lapwing as a ‘Near Threatened’ species on a global scale. Additionally, the population was assessed as decreasing.

Species Biology


The Lapwing is a conspicuous wader, sporting a brownish back, white underparts and a black chest that runs up to a black and white head with a thin black crest extending from the head.

Under favourable light conditions, its wings are distinctive. It has flesh-coloured legs.

The wings are round in shape and the Lapwing has a plump, heavy chested appearance.

A typical Lapwing stands at 28-31 cm in length with a wingspan of 82-87 cm and a weight of 140-320 grams. 


The Lapwing mainly feeds on ground invertebrates such as annelids and arthropods.

It feeds at night to reduce competition from other species such as gulls.


Suitable wintering habitat includes various wetland habitats as well as unimproved pasture and rough land.

It breeds in both wet and dry semi-natural grassland, in open landscapes.    


The Lapwing will lay a clutch of four eggs, each weighing approximately 26 grams from late March to late May.

The eggs are incubated for a period of 25-34 days and the young will fledge after 35-40 days.

A typical wild Lapwing has a life expectancy of five years and breeds after the second year.


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

There is a population of resident Lapwing in Ireland. The Irish population is bolstered in both the summer and winter by visitors from European populations.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022

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