Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens



Distinguishing Characteristics

Typical Charadriidae shape, with orangish pink legs, and orangish pink bill with black tip. The red irises with red eye-ring and brown eye stripe give it a particularly fierce look. Head, neck and breast are grey, back is brown with and iridescent green tinge. A prominent white wingband and small carpal spurs are visible when the wings are extended.

Similar Species

The Andean Lapwing is closely related to another Vanellus plover, the Southern Lapwing (V. chilensis). However, the two species do not commonly co-occur: Andean Lapwings are typically found above 3000m, outside the elevational range of the Southern Lapwing. Furthermore, they are fairly distinctive; Southern Lapwings have a black face, throat, and breast as opposed to a dark eyeline, and possess a distinctive crest. However, they have similar shape (besides the crest) and may look similar in flight.

Detailed Description

Overall body shape is typical of many Charadriidae. Adults are about 33 cm in length, and have a pale grayish brown head with darker brown eye-stripe, red iris surrounded by red eye-ring, and pink-orange bill with black tip. The light gray neck fades into a darker breast, which is separated from the white underparts by a black line. Back and scapulars are brown with an iridescent green tinge, with a deep violet patch in the scapulars and white coverts forming two bands against the brown scapulars and brown flight feathers. The short tail feathers are black, with white tips, with white uppertail coverts. From the black breast-band down, the bird is white underneath, including wing linings. Legs are a pinkish-orange and short enough that they do not extend past the tail in flight. With their broad, rounded wings extended, as in flight, a prominent white band is visible in the greater scapulars: viewed from above the white band forms a V with the tail at its apex. Also in flight, the small carpal spurs will be visible.
Juveniles are duller, with a browner head, and possibly spotted breast/beally (Piersma and Wiersma 1996).


No seasonal variation. Juvenilles duller with brownish head, mottled breast, dark green subterminal lines to feathers of upperparts (Piersma and Wiersma 1996). Likely complex basic molt strategy.

Bare Parts

Straight, orange bill with a dark or black tip; Iris is red with a red eye-ring; small carpal spurs which are visible when wings are extended; legs are orange and short enough that they do not extend past the tail in flight.


33cm, 193-230g (Piersma and Wiersma 1996)

Recommended Citation

Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: