Fun Crowned Lapwing Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 31, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 19, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Crowned Lapwing Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

Have you ever heard of the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)? This bird is mainly found in eastern and southern Africa. Numerous groups are found in Botswana, as well as near the Red Sea coast of Somalia. Other than that, numerous populations also occur in other parts of Africa, where there are dry and arid grasslands. When it comes to the physical description of this bird, it's best known for the white and black crown that it wears. This crown is more prominent in adults compared to juveniles. Another key point of their physical description is the long red legs that allow this bird to search for food with ease. This bird is known for being conspicuous and noisy; do you want to learn more about it?

If you are finding this bird interesting, keep reading to learn more crowned lapwing facts. Also, check out the articles on the green heron and the palm warbler to know about more birds.

Crowned Lapwing Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crowned lapwing?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is a type of shorebird that is widespread in southern Africa.

What class of animal does a crowned lapwing belong to?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) belongs to the class Aves (just like the American golden plover), to the order Charadriiformes, the family Charadriidae, and the genus Vanellus. Even a laughing gull occurs in the same order as the crowned plover.

How many crowned lapwings are there in the world?

Even though we don't have exact references about the population of the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) bird, some sources state that there are around  400,000–900,000 mature individuals of this bird from the Charadriidae family across its distribution range.

Where does a crowned lapwing live?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) has a distribution that is widespread in eastern and southern Africa. Also, when it comes to the crowned lapwing range map, it's said to be found across sub-Saharan Africa. This bird occurs across a range from Ethiopia to South Africa, and for the crowned lapwing, Kenya is also a common home. You will be unlikely to find this bird in the coastal lowlands beyond southern Malindi. The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) also occurs in the Red Sea coast of Somalia, and its population distribution reaches to southern and southwestern parts of Africa. At times, large groups of these birds can be seen in arid areas like Botswana, often when there is a possibility of rainfall.

What is a crowned lapwing's habitat?

Crowned lapwing (also known as crowned plover) birds are fond of dry and arid areas in their habitat range. This has led to huge flocks of crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) birds visiting areas of the Kalahari Desert. Dry grassland regions like savannahs suit these birds the most, and they prefer open areas. These Vanellus coronatus crowned lapwing birds also often travel to cultivated areas to find food to include in their diet.

Who do crowned lapwings live with?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is known for living in flocks, and these flocks can often be large. At times, these flocks can even have 36 individuals, but the flocks reduce in size as nesting starts. The noisy crowned lapwing call will let you know if these birds are nearby.

How long does a crowned lapwing live?

The average crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) lifespan is said to be around 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Even though this bird likes to live in big flocks, during the breeding season, they occur in small groups, and a distance is maintained between nests. The usual breeding season is during July and October. These birds make the nest by creating a hole in flat ground, usually under the shade of a tree. Around two to three eggs are laid, and it takes 28-32 days for these eggs to hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) under the category of Least Concern in its Red List. This plover bird comes under the conservation jurisdiction of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA).

Crowned Lapwing Fun Facts

What do crowned lapwings look like?

Thanks to their similar-sounding names, the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is usually confused with the male or the female white-crowned lapwing. However, they are different species, and the white-crowned lapwing spur, as well as the projections beside its bill, help us to find a contrast between the two species.

When it comes to defining the crowned lapwing, the first thing we should address in this description is its name. The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) gets its name from the crown present on its head. Its black crown is highlighted with a white halo, giving this crowned plover a majestic look. Apart from their heads, the colors of their crowns can also be seen on the underbelly where there are white and black streaks. You can also see black and white feathers on the bird's wings when it is flying.

Other than that, the majority of the body of the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is covered in grayish-brown feathers. No notable differences can be seen between adult males and females. In the case of juveniles, their crowns are much less defined compared to those of adults. Now, another striking thing about the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is its long, sleek legs. These long legs are usually red or pink, and they help the bird to forage and wade through thick grasslands. This bird has a small red bill with a black tip. Also, during the breeding season, the eyes of crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) birds have a yellow color, which turns into a dark brown during the non-breeding season.

Crowned lapwing facts are great for kids.

How cute are they?

When it comes to birds, most species look extremely beautiful and it isn't different for the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus), also known as the crowned plover. The beautiful black crown present on its head even makes it look royal!

How do they communicate?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) bird is known for being noisy. Apart from the raspy 'krueeet' sound they make, this bird also makes 'tri-tri-tri-tri' and 'kree-kree-kreeip-kreeip' sounds. If you ever get the opportunity to meet this noisy species, you will surely remember it. However, don't go in search of these birds as they don't particularly like humans, and whenever a human tries to get near their nesting or breeding ground, these adults start to make strange noises.

How big is a crowned lapwing?

If you see a crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) you may not even think of it as a big bird. Their usual size range is around 7.8-13.3 in (20–34 cm). Moreover, male birds tend to be 3% larger compared to female birds. In comparison, the average height of the mountain plover is around 8-9.5 in (20-24 cm), making the crowned lapwing a slightly smaller, more conspicuous bird.

How fast can a crowned lapwing fly?

The exact flight speed of crowned lapwings (Vanellus coronatus) is currently unknown. However, on average, lapwing species can manage to have a flight speed of 30-40 mph. And, yes the lapwing can fly, some lucky people have even seen the crowned lapwing diving in the air, mid-flight!

How much does a crowned lapwing weigh?

The average weight range of the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is around 4.4-7 oz (126–200 g). As males are slightly larger than females, we can expect them to weigh a tad more too.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for females and males of this Southern African bird species.

What would you call a baby crowned lapwing?

A baby crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) or crowned plover is mainly an insectivorous bird. Hence, it wades through grasslands in its habitat in search of food. The favorite food of this bird is termites, but it can also indulge in other insect species that occur in the grassland habitat. Other related insects that are found in its diet include beetles, grasshoppers, ants, and crickets. This bird usually hunts at dawn, but it can also be seen foraging through the grassland on moonlit nights. Birds that reside near the periphery of cultivated lands may also co-reside with cattle.

Are they poisonous?

No, the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) isn't a poisonous species of bird. Moreover, it doesn't have a big enough bill to attack a human being. These birds are only a threat to termites, who are the bird's favorite food.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) isn't meant to be someone's pet. This crowned plover bird needs to stay in an arid area in the wild, which cannot be provided inside our homes.

Did you know...

The family, genus, and classification of the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) were different in the past. It was formerly classified with the binomial name of Stephanibyx coronatus. Today, the name Vanellus coronatus has taken the place of Stephanibyx coronatus.

These birds are nocturnal by nature!

Are lapwings and plovers the same?

Even though the classification of lapwings and plovers is often used interchangeably, according to current trends, these related species can be quite different. Both are commonly found shorebirds and both use the distinct run-stop-tilt forward action while foraging for food. One of the common differences seen between the two bird species is the shape of their wings. Lapwings tend to have rounder wings, while plovers have more pointed wings. A common way to differentiate between the two species is that a lapwing can be denoted as a bigger version of a plover. Some popularly known plover birds are the American golden plover and the mountain plover.

Are crowned lapwings endangered?

No, the crowned lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) is not an endangered species. However, ongoing deforestation and habitat loss have definitely affected its population.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Australian pelican facts and snowy plover facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable crowned lapwing coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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