A lapwing with wing dipped in water (c) Ian Turner


Lapwings are known locally in the UK as 'peewits' after their shrill call. Their call is not the only distinctive feature - they also have a very characteristic flight pattern.

The common name 'lapwing' is thought to come from the Old English word 'hleapewince' which means leaping with a wink in it. Dense flocks of this once common farmland wading bird still make an impressive sight with their iridescent green and purple plumage shimmering in the sunlight.

Lapwing chicks are renowned for being able to run only moments after hatching.

Scientific name: Vanellus vanellus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Green plover,
  • Northern lapwing,
  • Peewit

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Map showing the distribution of the Lapwing taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Lapwing can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Lapwing distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1