Grey-headed lapwing

The grey-headed lapwing (Vanellus cinereus) is a lapwing species which breeds in northeast China and Japan. The mainland population winters in northern Southeast Asia from northeastern India to Cambodia. The Japanese population winters, at least partially, in southern Honshū.

Grey-headed lapwing
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Vanellus
V. cinereus
Binomial name
Vanellus cinereus
(Blyth, 1842)

Hoplopterus cinereus (Blyth, 1842)
Microsarcops cinereus (Blyth, 1842)
Pluvianus cinereus Blyth, 1842

This species has occurred as a vagrant in Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia, New South Wales, Australia and Sri Lanka.[1]


The grey-headed lapwing is 34–37 cm long. It has a grey head and neck, darker grey breast band and white belly. The back is brown, the rump is white and the tail is black. This is a striking species in flight, with black primaries, white under wings and upper wing secondaries, and brown upper wing coverts.

Adults of both sexes are similarly plumaged, but males are slightly larger than females. Young birds have the white areas of plumage tinged with grey, a less distinct breast band, and pale fringes to the upperpart and wing covert feathers. The call of the Grey-headed Lapwing is a sharp chee-it.


This species nests from April to July in wet grassland, rice fields and marshland edges. It winters in similar habitat and is then gregarious. It feeds in shallow water on insects, worms and molluscs.


  • Hayman, Marchant and Prater, Shorebirds ISBN 0-395-37903-2
  • Robson, Craig A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand ISBN 1-84330-921-1
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