Vanellus miles (CHARADRIIDAE) Masked Plover or Lapwing


Large ground-dwelling bird closely related to waders. White underbelly, brown wings and a black head, with large yellow wattles covering their face. Can defend their territory aggressively with a thorny spur that projects from the wrist on each wing. Common throughout northern, central and eastern Australia, excluding arid regions. They inhabit marshes, mudflats, beaches and grasslands, and are often seen in urban areas. Feeds on insects and their larvae and earthworms just below the surface of the ground. Often seen feeding in pairs or small groups.
Photo: Derek Boddington