The lapwing’s alternative name, peewit, mimics its distinctive, two-syllable call. It is known by similarly onomatopoeic names in other European languages: Kiebitz (German), vipe (Norwegian), priba (Slovenian), vivak (Croatian).
Caught in the Act
Lapwings were once the sole subjects of a parliamentary act. The 1928 Protection of Lapwings Act restricts the taking of the birds and their eggs for food, a practice that had severely reduced populations.
The long walk
Less than 40 per cent of lapwing chicks survive to fledging. They are particularly vulnerable to predators soon after hatching, when their parents lead them from the nest to suitable feeding habitat.
Lapwings rear just a single brood of up to four chicks a year, but they may lay up to four replacement clutches if their eggs are lost.
Lapwing numbers fell by 49 per cent in England and Wales between 1987 and 1998 – the result of changing agricultural practices – though the species has fared better in Scotland.