Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)

Southern Lapwing

[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Vanellus chilensis | [UK] Southern Lapwing | [FR] Vanneau tero | [DE] Bronzekiebitz | [ES] Avefria Tero | [IT] Pavoncella del Cile | [NL] Chileense Kievit


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Vanellus chilensis SA widespread
Vanellus chilensis cayennensis n South America
Vanellus chilensis chilensis c Chile and wc Argentina
Vanellus chilensis fretensis s Chile and s Argentina
Vanellus chilensis lampronotus c and e Brazil to n Chile and n Argentina

Physical charateristics

Grey head and neck. Black forehead, throat and chest. grey and black of the head and throat separated by a white line. grey back with brownish metalic brightness. grey upper wing coverts with iridescent tones. Black primaries and secondaries, separated of the grey coverts by a white band that are seen when the wings are open. Reddish spur in the elbow of each wing. White belly, flanks and under wing coverts. White basal-half tail; rest black . Red bill with black tip. Red legs.

Listen to the sound of Southern Lapwing

[audio: Lapwing.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 31 cm size max.: 33 cm
incubation min.: 27 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 29 days fledging max.: 32 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Ranges from Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and southern South America.
Southern Lapwings have recently undergone a notable range expansion and are currently breeding in the southern Caribbean and as far north as Costa Rica in Central America. Out-of-range Southern Lapwings have positively been noted in Belize and Mexico and a possible sight from Florida. In Suriname a very rare non-breeder of open country.


This is a Lapwing of lake and river banks or open grassland. It has benefited from the extension of the latter habitat through widespread cattle ranching. It was first recorded on Trinidad in 1961 and Tobago in 1974, and has rapidly increased on both islands.


The nest is a shallow depression in the ground about 160 mm in diameter, surrounded by grass roots, with no lining other than some dry grass.
The clutch is 3 to 4 large (50 x 37 mm) pear-shaped eggs, which are colored greenish-brown with dark blotches. Total incubation time for the eggs is 27-30 days, The chicks are able to feed independently a short time after hatching. Their cryptic plumage renders them nearly invisible to the naked eye.
The nst is defended by not just the parents. Immatures and other adults will help defending it. Loosely colonial. The young fledge after about a month.

Feeding habits

Its food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates, hunted by a run-and-wait technique, mainly at night. This gregarious species often feeds in flocks.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 13,000,000 km2. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Southern Lapwing status Least Concern


Sedentary, allthough post breeding dispersal is common. In extreme winters Southern populations migrate North.

Distribution map

Southern Lapwing range map


Title Notes on reproduction of the Southern lapwing , in Colombia
Author(s): Luis G. Naranjo
Abstract: Despite its wide distribution throughout most of S..[more]..
Source: ORNITOLOGIA NEOTROPICAL 2: 95-96, 1991

download full text (pdf)


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