Lapwing

Latin name: Vanellus vanellus

Family: Charadriidae

The sight of male lapwings performing their spectacular tumbling display flights is often thought of as one of the first signs of spring in the Yorkshire Dales. During these displays, the bird will make its familiar 'peewit' call and this has become one of the local names for the species.

With its black and white appearance and distinctive crest, the northern lapwing is easy to distinguish. It favours lowland areas of northern England, the Borders and eastern Scotland. Farmers in particular are fond of the lapwing as it eats pests such as wireworms, slugs and snails.

Within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the lapwing nests in a wide range of wet or damp habitats where there is short vegetation. After a good breeding season, large flocks of adult and young birds will congregate on the low lying land. Many will remain in the uplands of the Yorkshire Dales until the first frosts of winter force the birds to move to lowland arable areas.

Upland areas within the Yorkshire Dales provide important breeding areas for many breeding waders such as the lapwing. Survey work has shown that nationally important numbers of breeding lapwing are found in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Up to 2,900 pairs were recorded on moorland areas during the early 1990s and up to 1,500 pairs were found on enclosed grassland in 2000. Conservation work on this species is on-going in the National Park.

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The unfolding of Grass Wood throughout the year is a story of rich fulfilment. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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