Northern Lapwing is the national bird of Ireland which is found in many parts of the country. It is a member of the Charadriidae family, which includes plovers and lapwings. It is a common resident breeder in Ireland and also breeds in Britain and other parts of Europe.
The Ireland bird Northern Lapwing is a rare and unusual bird which is found in large numbers in grassland areas. Its scientific name is Vanellus vanellus; this means “beautiful wings” in Latin.
They can be found in Europe, Africa and Asia but are most common in Europe where they nest on sandy dunes or beaches near water sources such as lakes or rivers where they feed on insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as seeds from plants such as marram grasses (Ammophila arenaria)
Scientific Name: Vanellus vanellus
Species: V. vanellus
The lapwing is a striking bird with its red legs and beak, brown back and black breast band contrasting with the white belly. The male displays by fanning out his black tail feathers to show their white tips when he flies or runs across the ground.
Facts about Northern Lapwing
- They are famous ground-nesting birds in Ireland.
- They lay one or two eggs in a shallow scrape on the ground and incubate them for 20 days. The chicks will stay with their parents until they are ready to migrate, usually at around six weeks old.
- The male has a red eye while the female has a brown eye, although both have red eyes during breeding season.
- They feed mainly on insects and seeds
- Their beaks are adapted to this diet – they are very strong and slightly hooked at the tip to help them catch their prey easily.
- Northern Lapwings can be found all over the world except Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand
- Diet: The diet of the northern lapwing consists mostly of insects and other invertebrates. The species is also known to eat small fish, frogs and lizards in captivity.
- Weight: Northern lapwings typically weigh between 250 and 370 g (8.8 and 13.0 oz).
Why is Northern Lapwing is the national bird of Ireland?
Northern Lapwing is chosen as the Ireland’s national bird because it is a common and abundant species in the country. It is also one of the most vocal birds, making it easy to be found by humans. It has been chosen because it is beautiful to look at and has been a symbol of Ireland since ancient times.
The Lapwing is a very faithful bird that returns to its nest every year and often comes back to the same place where it was born, this makes them very easily identifiable by people living near their breeding grounds in Ireland
It was chosen by the Irish Wildlife Trust as the official Irish National Bird because it symbolizes independence and freedom. It’s one of the few birds that manages to survive in Ireland’s harsh climate. It has a beautiful song that can be heard from afar.