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A winter visitor to Dorset, often in large flocks.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Lapwing: pee-wit or green plover

Post date: Thursday, 23 January, 2014 - 00:00

It's not so many years ago that the lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) could be seen in spring over farmland across Dorset displaying with its wonderful 'swooping' flight and amazing electronic 'pee-wit' sound. Sadly, as a breeding bird in southern England, it now seems quite rare so it is always good to welcome them back as they come south to spend the winter with many other wading birds. 

In winter they can be seen on wet farm fields or around scrapes and hollows in Poole and Christchurch harbours or at Radipole/Lodmore in Weymouth. The often occur in quite large flocks and when they take flight they are quite distinctive because of their 'lapping winged' style! That may sound odd but I am sure you know what I mean if you have seen it.

The lapwing will always be a favourite of mine as one of my earliest memories is of my dad taking me, on his bike, out into the New Forest to see these birds. They were quite common in 'the Forest' back in the early 1950's. He called them pee-wits, the picture book of birds I had called them green plover but today the common name seems to have standardised on lapwing.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Lapwing
Alternative Name(s) Green Plover or Pee-wit
Scientific Name Vanellus vanellus
Status Locally frequent
Interest Level
Species Family Plovers
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Farmland
  • Mudflats
Look for The green plumage, unique amongst waders
Additional Identification Notes
  • Probably no longer nests in Dorset and seen mainly as a winter visitor
  • Always in large flocks and make an impressive sight in flight
  • The have a particularly 'lazy' flight which gives them  their most common name of the lapwing