It is common knowledge that Australia has a wide ranging selection of venomous critters who can cause death in many nasty ways. In this case we’re going to take a look at a bird who is equipped with a spur on its wing that many believed was venomous (because what animal in Australia isn’t?) but has been proven to not be. It is, however, a pretty funny looking bird in a land of beautiful birds.
Meet the Masked Lapwing. They are a common bird found all over wetland areas, with heaviest population in Queensland, Northern Territories and New South Wales
It is reported that this wetland dwelling insect eater is shy, but my contacts in the Land Down Under report that during breeding season it is a fierce defender of its nest and chicks to the point of driving off cats and small dogs with a barrage of attacks using that wing spur I mentioned. It will try the “I’m injured over here” game to lure a predator away from its nest, but if that predator goes closer all bets are off and the lapwing will attack.
If they were a little more discriminating about where they nest this might not be such a terrible thing but from what I gather they will nest pretty much anywhere, including along sidewalks and in parking lots. This had lead to a slight decline in populations in urban areas where outdoor cats are more common and predation of the chicks happens a little more frequently. However overall they’re still pretty common, and about as silly looking as a bird can get. Why did nature decide this bird needed a yellow robber’s mask? I’m afraid to know.