|Southern Lapwing Vanellus
(aka Chilean Lapwing)
Chilean name: Queltehue
Southern Lapwing ranges throughout South America except on the
Pacific coast from Peru northwards and in parts of
It is found in open areas near water and marshes and is frequently seen near habitation and on farmland. Some farmers use them as guards as they are very aggressive and give out a loud call when disturbed.
|In places such as Brazil this
loud call gives rise to local names such as
The plumage is very distinctive and there are minor variations of the facial markings which distinguish the 4 subspecies. Photos 1 to 6 and 10 are V. c. lampronotus which is the subspecies found in Brazil south of the River Amazon. Photos 7 and 8 are of the nominate subspecies found in central Chile south to Chiloe and in Argentina while photo 9 is of the sub-species V. c. fretensis found in Patagonia. Photo 11 from Colombia is the sub-species V. c. cayennensis.
|The second photo shows a Southern Lapwing standing over a well-camouflaged egg in a shallow scrape nest. The clutch size is normally 3 or 4 so maybe this bird had just started to lay.|
|The Southern Lapwing has red spurs at the bend of the wing which are displayed to rivals and enemies as part of the show of aggression. These can be seen well in the fourth photo which shows the first part of an extraordinary display. This group of 4 birds advanced rapidly calling loudly with their spurs showing on a single bird who was presumably trying to invade their (co-operative?) breeding territory.|
suddenly stopped and adopted a bowing position as shown in the
fifth photo. I assume that this is also an aggressive stance. The
bird who was the object of their attention flew off about 50
metres followed by this band of four and the whole performance
There are recordings and a distribution map on xeno-canto.
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