Lapwing - Spotted Redshank

The page deals with Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), and Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus). Every year both species appear here for breeding purpose.

The subsequent images were taken at the National Park Neusiedlersee Seewinkel which is located in the south eastern corner of Austria. Photos of this page were taken in 2003 and 2005.

Lapwings are Pigeon sized birds. Both genders wear the typical hood feathers on their head. Cock's decoration is a bit longer than hen's.

Lapwings appear very early in their breeding districts. Often already in the second half of February. They prefer meadows and fields in wet areas.

Because of the early brooding, late snow falls may happen. Lapwings then keep sitting on their eggs and are snowed in. They easily may start a new brood in case of nest devastation.


Spotted Redshanks are a bit larger than regular Redshanks. They have longer legs and also a longer and very spiky bill shape. When flying, legs overhang the tail

Spotted Redshanks search for prey by picking and poking, sometimes they make a short sprint. Spotted Redshanks may swim and sometimes they dive head and neck totally under water. Landing on water is possible for them.

In case of raptor attacks, Spotted Redshanks may also dive in order to abscond. A behavior, which in most cases is successful.

The flat breeding hollow is located on the open ground. Sometimes it is padded with leafs and feathers. Breeding and guiding the cubs is obligation of the male bird. The female leaves the nest about one week before hatch out.


During the mating season, male Lapwings perform conspicuous flight acrobatic.

Click on preview thumbnails for enlarged presentation!

  As long as no cubs did hatch out, Lapwings leave their nests in case of disturbance. They rely on the egg's camouflage paintings. After hatch out, all adult birds defend their nests together if necessary. During that phase the chicks pretend to be dead.  
  Often Lapwings populate human cultivated areas. Especially freshly plowed land, wet meadows and fallow grounds. Lapwings prefer territories with open round view. Prey is detected visually. Via leg trill, prey is attracted to leave holes. (top of page)  

Lapwings like to take their bath in shallow waters. When doing so, they are extensively splashing in order to clean their plumage. The following sequence shows such bath procedure in several scenes.

  Performing bending movements, the wet element is also distributed on the backside.  
  The inner parts of the wings are also subject to get watered. (top of page)  

Now a test, if evverything is still in place and works well.

  Before lift off, the last water drops need to be shake off.  
  Everything okay, the bird seems to think, the flight capability is still the old. (top of page)  

But now feather care on a dry ground would be nice.
A bit in disorder the plumage seem to be still ...

  After different activity in order to check all feathers for correct position and style, a final shake up is performed before life can continue ...  

Now everything is finished, clean and done up it's time to check, where the others are ...(top of page)

  One may meet Spotted Redshanks in deeper water than comparable waders. The dark red bill ends with a black needle like tip. The legs are red brown. Spotted Redshanks are rather rare birds at the Seewinkel.  
  Like Avocets, Spotted Redshanks are able to detect prey while sweeping the bill left and right through the ground. This portrait I took at the Hochgstetten Lacken which is located close to the oberer Stinkersee.  
  Navigation: Bird select, Pages: Ruff, Avocet - Black-winged Stilt, Great White Egret,
Redshank - Little ringrd Plover
, Black-tailed Godwit, Stork - Seagull, Coastal Birds
Last Update: August 2005 - send me an email
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