Wild Harris


Lapwing 1 CReddick.jpgLapwing    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The lapwing is a familiar sight on the machair – especially where there are cows, as they like to feed on the insects in cow dung. Lapwings run a lot and peck at the ground to get their insect food.

The feathers on the back are a glossy green-purple, and it has a beautiful crest on the top of its head. Only the lapwing has a crest like this.

Lapwing 3 CReddick.jpgLapwing    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

When they are flying you will see their rounded wings, which are quite floppy. The black and white on the underneath of the wings is very easy to see.

When they are displaying for courtship they have an amazing flight – with a high, show-off soar followed by a wild dive to the ground. They also do a slow flapping flight like a butterfly.

Their call is a very loud ‘peewit peewit’.

Lapwing 2 CReddick.jpgLapwing Chicks    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The chicks can walk soon after they hatch, and follow their parents around the machair. If you approach the chicks, the adults will pretend to have a broken wing to distract you from the chicks.

Lapwing 4 CReddick.jpgLapwing Juvenile    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The young lapwings are much browner than the adults. All the lapwings gather into flocks at the end of the summer, and move to the coast to spend the winter.

by Alison Tyler