Spring is in the air (3)

April 1st 2024

Spring is in the air (3)

At least for these male Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus at Loch Neil Bhain today, 27th February 2024, it is! There was no sign of any females which is the usual pattern with most breeding birds.

The males arrive early in the hope of securing the best territory which might in turn impress the females when they arrive.

Why are these birds not female? Several things about their plumage tell us-

The crest is very long. The female’s crest is noticeably shorter.

The black on the lower neck is ‘solid’ and sharply defined. In the female this black is less extensive and typically has white bands/speckles.

It doesn’t help yet, but when the birds are in flight the male’s wings have a much broader ‘hand’, the outer half of the wing. The female’s wings are the same width throughout their length.

One last thing about these birds which would tell you it was early spring is that the black on their throat and face is not yet fully developed.

They are beautiful birds so enjoy them when you see them but please keep your distance.

David Haines

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