Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)


French: Vanneau soldat German: Maskenkiebitz Spanish: Avefría militar norteña

Tringa miles


, 1783,

Louisiana; error = Australia


Sometimes placed in Hoplopterus or Lobivanellus, or in monospecific Lobibyx (with V. novaehollandiae as a race). Usually considered conspecific with V. novaehollandiae owing to intergrades in at least two areas of overlap, N Queensland and L Eyre catchment area (see below). Birds of N Australia formerly awarded separate race, personatus. Monotypic.


NE & S New Guinea and Aru Is to N Australia; probably non-breeding visitor to SE Wallacea.

Descriptive notes

30–37 cm; 191–300 g; wingspan 75–85 cm. Large lapwing with outsize yellow wattles and long yellow carpal spurs; crown black, upperparts plain olive brown,... read more


No known differences between this species and V. novaehollandiae.


Wide range of open habitats with, preferably, short grass, either natural or cultivated, including... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, worms and spiders; also molluscs, crustaceans, seeds and leaves. Diet based on stomach contents in Queensland included... read more


Eggs recorded Nov–Apr in Northern Territory, all months in NE Queensland, and Aug–Nov and Mar in N Western Australia.... 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. novaehollandiae estimated at c. 287,000 birds, of which 258,000 in Australia.... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles). 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 28 January 2020).