Masked Lawings are probably Australia’s most widespread and abundant shorebird; they’ve even colonised New Zealand!

There are two subspecies of Masked Lapwing. Northern Masked Lapwings have larger wattles and a more extensive mask than Southern Masked Lapwings which also has a distinctive black “collar”.

The two subspecies do interbreed so there are parts of Australia where hybrid can occur (see map).


Northern Masked Lapwing - Vanellus miles miles

While Masked Lawings are more common around inland wetlands, ovals and carparks, they do occasionally nest on beaches and estuaries near the sea.


Southern Masked Lapwing - Vanellus miles novaehollandiae

Despite being much larger and more obvious Masked Lapwings nonetheless still get confused with Hooded Plovers!

But, unlike Hoodies, Masked Lawings are img4super aggressive when they are breeding!

They will call loudly, use threat displays in which they fan themselves out and use their spurred wings at you (right) and even swoop people or predators.

So your not likely to be left wondering if a Masked Lapwing is nesting.

Recently hatched Masked Lapwing (southern) chick - indistinguishable from northern sub-species at this age.

2-3 week old

Masked Lapwing

(northern) chick

Click for more Masked Lapwing images.