Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 215 - Masked Lapwing

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with things - and that seems especially true for the taxonomy of birds.  Species are split - so that what was once a single species becomes two or even more.  And species are 'lumped', where two species that were once considered separate become just one.

Some people can't see the point of such endeavours, but as I tend to point out at such times, we can't protect the things we don't know exist.

The Masked Lapwing is a point in case, where a species that was considered to have two sub-species is now considered to be two separate species.   In southern Australia, what was once a sub-species is now a full species, called the Black-shouldered Lapwing  and the birds found in Northern Australia are considered to be 'true' Masked Lapwings.

The difference between these two birds is pretty clear - and you can see some picture of the Black-shouldered Lapwing here (although I had not caught up with the change of name at that point in time!) although even it that post there is a comment about classification.

So, here (for the time being!) we have the Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles).  These birds were foraging on the beach in Darwin.  They were either much more relaxed than their southern relatives, or just used to people as they came much closer to me that I had expected.

These birds differ from their southern 'cousins' in that they lack the clear black shoulder marks, and that the yellow wattles on their face in much larger.  When seen head on, the yellow mask behind the back can been seen to be swollen to such an extent that it seems the birds cannot see forward!  Strange.









I think the bird in the last picture is keeping its eye on a Kite that was circling above the beach.

Now, click on the blue button to join in.  cheers  SM

29 comments:

Brian King said...

They are certainly funny looking birds! I've always thought they were rather clownish in appearance. Beautiful photos!

NatureFootstep said...

this lapwing is a very cool bird. You have to love it, but when I saw it the first time I had a hard time beliving what I saw :)

Andrea Priebe said...

I love a bird with wattle ... it always seems to give it such distinction, like an old person with gray temples and wattle on his neck. These birds look like a group of old Grandpa's enjoying an outing on the beach, Ha! Nature never ceases to amaze me ... for what purpose, other than to make each species distinctly different, would you put wattle on anything. Oh my ... but they really are cute :) And, of course, yet another bird I have never seen or heard of. My life is going to be woefully incomplete if I don't make it to Australia some day. Great post, Stewart :)

Andrea @ From the Sol

Sharon Wagner said...

Very peculiar bird. Whatever species posed better for me would be my preferred one. Beautiful rocky background.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Stewart! The Masked Lapwing is a cool looking bird. Awesome photos. Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

Chris Rohrer said...

I've only seen this bird in a zoo. It's such a strange looking bird. Lucky you!

Tony McGurk said...

Hi Stewart. What better for them than to enjoy a day at the beach. Until I looked them up a coupe of months ago I always thought they were just called Plovers. We get lots of them here in Tassie & I saw a couple on the weekend with 2 young chicks. Let swooping season begin.

Linda W. said...

What an interesting bird. Love it's yellow "mask!"

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

wow

those are unique looking birds. Cheers

Beth said...

What an interesting bird Stewart.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting looking bird. I get confused enough with identifications without 1 species becoming 2!! Enjoy your week. Diane

Phyllis Oller said...

You certainly captured a strange looking bird for me,look at those long legs! And the face with those masks! Thanks for sharing with us!Thanks for hosting! phyllis

Chandra@GreenComotion said...

Beautiful bird!
On a lighter note, dashing yellow beard :)
{Statisticians were never known for their humor :)}

Have a Happy Week, Stewart!
Peace :)

Marie C said...

A very odd bird, indeed! Beautiful coloring though and your pictures are sharp and wonderful!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Stewart!:) What an interesting bird, but I wonder what purpose those yellow masks serve. Very colourful, and beautifully photographed images.:)

Anu said...

Interesting post and photos are so great.

photodoug said...

Stewart, a new bird for me. Thanks for sharing.

Phil Slade said...

They are certianly unusual looking Stewart. I too don't have a problem with all this splitting, lumping and name changes, but just like you say, keeping up with all the changes.

Denise inVA said...

Great photos and thank you so much for introducing this fascinating bird Stewart. He is quite striking.

Missy George said...

Handsome bird...interesting post..Nice pictures...

Linda said...

Odd fellow but quite cute.

Dave Lewis said...

I'm glad I don't have a wattle...

Margaret Adamson said...

I'vebeen attacked by one of these guys. Thanksfor hosting Stewart

diane b said...

They sure do have strange faces.

Ranten said...

Hi Stewart! The Masked Lapwing bird is realy cool looking :-))

Lady Fi said...

What a great looking beak!

Marcia said...

What a very curios looking bird. What purpose does that yellow mask serve I wonder?

DesertHen said...

That is a very interesting looking bird! Loved seeing it.

Claire Moxon-Waltz said...

What a wonderful bird. I have never seen one of those before, but upon a bit of research, it appears that we don't have any lapwing species that are present in eastern Canada. I'm always interested in taxonomic changes - a sign of our continuously evolving understanding of the natural world.