L is for Lapwing

The Lapwing Vanellus vanellus or ‘Peewit’ is unmistakable with striking green, black and white colouring and a large crest.

Lapwing at evening roost site, early spring Vanellus vannellus, by mikerae.com

Lapwing at evening roost site, early spring Vanellus vannellus, by mikerae.com

It is widespread in the UK and a very common winter visitor to Suffolk, often seen in open habitats, such as farmland, where the tumbling breeding display flight in March marks the arrival of spring. Parents will distract predators from their shallow nests on the ground, luring them away by pretending to have a broken wing. It was portrayed by Chaucer as being a deceitful bird ‘ful of trecherye’; even today the collective noun for a flock of lapwings is ‘a deceit’.

Lapwing numbers have dropped by 80% in the UK since 1960, but large flocks have been recorded at Burgh Castle, Oulton Marshes, Minsmere, Lakenheath Fen and Waldringfield. In 2016, lapwings bred along the coast and inland in west and south Suffolk at Livermere Lake, Thetford and Stoke by Nayland.  The website for the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service includes the Suffolk Bird Atlas which shows the breeding areas.