Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Charadriidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Eduardo S. A. Santos


The timing of breeding for Southern Lapwings from central Brazil is strongly related to the timing of the rainy season (ESAS unpubl. data). Saracura (2003) reported that most of the breeding activities (active nests and groups with chicks) occur between August and December in Central Brazil. This pattern is consistent with the peak in rainfall for this region.

Clutch size in the Southern Lapwing varies from one to four eggs (mean ± SE: 3.2 ± 0.08, Santos and Macedo submitted). There is no difference in mean clutch size between groups composed of pairs and those composed of three or more adults (Santos and Macedo submitted). Females reduce the amount of maternal investment in the eggs when they are breeding in groups by reducing the nutritional content of the eggs (Santos and Macedo submitted). Approximately 72% of active nests hatch, and of hatched chicks (n = 74), 62% (n = 46) are alive after one week. However, only 23% (n = 23) of all chicks that hatch eventually fledge (Saracura 2003).

Southern Lapwing nest containing a clutch of three eggs in Brasília, DF, Brazil.
Chicks hatch fully covered in down and remain in the nest scrape for the first day (ESAS pers. obs.). After the first day, chicks move out and forage independently, unaided by parents. However, parents conduct chicks to feeding patches within their territories.
Southern Lapwings are not known to be brood parasitized. However, it may be possible that intra-specific brood parasitism occurs, but there are no data to support this claim.

Newly hatched Southern Lapwing chick. Note that chick is fully covered in down. Photograph taken in Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Recommended Citation

Santos, E. S. A. (2010). Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.