Masked Lapwing

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

Masked Lapwing

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.

6 responses

  1. I saw these funny fellas in Darwin – they where the first birds we encountered on our journey through Australia, so they’ll always be special to me. Silly, but special ;)

    July 31, 2013 at 2:48 am

    • Despite being one of the silliest looking birds I’ve seen in a while I rather like them too. I’d love to go Australia one day and seem them in the wild, though I’m not sure I’d want to start my trip in Darwin!

      July 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

      • Darwin is the perfect place to start: it can only get better after that ;)

        July 31, 2013 at 9:11 am

      • LOL You have a point there! I’ll have to reconsider my previous statement. :)

        July 31, 2013 at 10:05 am

  2. Clearly the masks make it more difficult for other bird witnesses when trying to ID suspects in lapwing lineups.

    August 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm

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