Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)


French: Vanneau téro German: Bronzekiebitz Spanish: Avefría tero

Parra Chilensis


, 1782,



Formerly placed in monospecific Belonopterus. On basis of proportions and vocalizations, may comprise two species, with separation of cayennensis, incorporating lampronotus; intergradation known at one locality. Race fretensis sometimes merged with nominate. Four subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. c. cayennensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Cayenne Lapwing – Costa Rica, Panama, and N South America (N of R Amazon) S to NE Peru (Loreto); recently expanding N to Nicaragua#R.
  • V. c. lampronotus (Wagler, 1827) – R Amazon S through C, E & S Brazil to N & E Bolivia, N Argentina and Uruguay.
  • V. c. chilensis (Molina, 1782) – Chilean Lapwing – C Argentina (Mendoza) and C Chile (Atacama; recorded N to Antofagasta) S to Chiloé I and Comodoro Rivadavia.
  • V. c. fretensis Brodkorb, 1934 – S Chile and S Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–38 cm; 220–426 g. Large, crested lapwing with red carpal spurs, blackish breastband and bronze sheen on greyish-brown upperparts. Sexes alike. No seasonal... read more


    Various metallic, cackling or shrill notes and yapping bark-like sounds, e.g. “keek, keek, keek... read more


    Breeds in pastures, damp meadows, river plains and open boggy areas with short matted vegetation;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, e.g. grasshoppers; also earthworms, and perhaps other terrestrial invertebrates; small fish and insect larvae disturbed by... read more


    Season Apr–Jul in Venezuela and Jan–Apr in Colombia (cayennensis) but potentially year-round in N Ecuador; late... read more


    Largely sedentary, with limited dispersal after breeding season and short-range movements to higher... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No population estimates available; widespread and abundant throughout much of range. Apparently spreading due to forest clearance (e.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis). 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 7 December 2019).