Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Black-shouldered Lapwing (Vanellus novaehollandiae)


French: Vanneau australasien German: Schwarznackenkiebitz Spanish: Avefría militar sureña

Vanellus Novæ-Hollandiæ


, 1783,

Louisiana; error = Australia


At times placed in Hoplopterus or Lobivanellus, or in monospecific Lobibyx (as race of V. miles). Usually treated as conspecific with V. miles owing to intergrades in at least two areas of overlap, N Queensland and L Eyre catchment area; but according to published data#R differs in its much smaller facial lappets, particularly on forehead (3); larger black cap, extending onto nape (2); shade browner upperparts (ns[1]); black mark at side of breast running down from nape as black collar (2); darker, less contrasting diagonal wingbar (ns[1]); carpal spur and bill with black tips, and tarsal scutes with darker grey centres (ns[1]); larger (males in all measurements), with longer wing (252.6 ± 5.91 vs 227.2 ± 4.93) and tail (107.0 ± 3.94 vs 95.4 ± 2.27), yet bill shorter (33.6 ± 1.61 vs 36.1 ± 2.01) (effect size for wing 4.67, score 2, effect size for bill −1.37, score 1; total score 3); zone of intergradation would add a score (1 or 2 depending on width). Monotypic.


E & SE Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, including Stewart I; recently colonized, and now well established in, Chatham Is.

Descriptive notes

30–37 cm; 296–412 g; wingspan 75–85 cm. Large lapwing. Crown and nape black continuing over central hindneck to join narrow black collar extending around lower hindneck and... read more


Alarm call is a loud penetrating stuttering “keer-kick-ki-ki-ki”, sometimes a single “heer” or... read more


Wide range of natural and modified open habitats, usually near water, including short-grass areas... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes molluscs, worms, millepedes, centipedes, insects, crustaceans, and occasionally seeds, leaves and frogs. Walk or run, then... read more


Lays mid Aug to early Dec, also early Mar in SE Queensland, Jun–Dec in S Australia, Jun to late Nov in New Zealand, Apr–Jul in New... read more


Resident and dispersive, responding to new food sources in recently constructed and temporary... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population of this species and V. miles estimated at c. 287,000 birds, of which 258,000 in Australia, but latter has... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-shouldered Lapwing (Vanellus novaehollandiae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).