The family Charadriidae is very large with seventy species listed and is split into subfamilies.

The Lapwings belong to the subfamily Vanellinae which contains twenty-five species of the genus Vanellus. There is one further species in this subfamily, the Red-kneed Dotterel, which has a genus of its own, Erythrogonys.

Family: CHARADRIIDAE (Leach 1820)

Subfamily: VANELLINAE (Bonaparte 1842)

Genera: There are twenty-five species of Lapwing within the Vanellus genus and one further species, the Red-kneed Dotterel, which has a genus of its own Erythrogonys.

Vanellus – Medieval Latin; vanellus lapwing, diminutive of vannus winnowing fan (Brisson 1760).
Erythrogonys – Greek; eruthros red; gonu knee (Gould 1938).

  • Europe: Northern Lapwing.
  • Africa: Northern Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-headed Lapwing, White-headed Lapwing, Senegal Lapwing, Black-winged Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Brown-chested Lapwing, Sociable Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing.
  • Asia: Northern Lapwing, River Lapwing, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Grey-headed Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, Sociable Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing.
  • Australasia: Javan Lapwing, Banded lapwing, Masked Lapwing, Black-shouldered Lapwing, Red-kneed Dotterel.
  • Central and South America: Pied Lapwing, Southern Lapwing, Andean Lapwing.

V. c. crassirostris (Hartlaub 1855)
V. c. leucopterus (Reichenow 1889)

V. t. tectus (Boddaert 1783)
V. t. latifrons (Reichenow 1881)

V. m. melanopterus (Cretzschmar 1829)
V. m. minor (Zedlitz 1908)

V. c. coronatus (Boddaert 1783)
V. c. xerophilus (Clancey 1960)
V. c. demissus (Friedmann 1928)

∗ V. s. senegallus (Linnaeus 1766)
∗ V. s. lateralis (A. Smith 1939)

V. i. indicus (Boddaert 1783)
V. i. aigneri (Laubman 1813)
V. i. lankaei (Koelz 1939)
V. i. atronuchalis (Jerdon 1864)

V. c. chilensis (Molina 1782)
V. c. cayennensis (Gmelin 1789)
V. c. lampronotus (Wagler 1827)
V. c. fretensis (Brodkorp 1934)

Originally Parra, Tringa, Chettusia, Charadrius, Lobivanellus and Pluvianus were given as generic names for the lapwings variously when first described, along with other proposed genera later such as, Ptiloscelys (Andean) Belonopterus (Southern) Hoploxypterus (Pied) Vanellochettusia (White-tailed) Hoplopterus (Masked, Red-wattled, Grey-headed, Spot-breasted, Crowned, Black-winged, Senegal, White-headed, Black-headed, River, Spur-winged, Blacksmith) Lobibyx (Masked), Zonifer (Banded), Rogibyx (Javan), Microsarcops (Grey-headed), Anomalophrys (Brown-chested), Tylibys (Spot-breasted), Afribyx (African Wattled), Stephanibyx (Crowned, Black-winged, Senegal), Xiphidiopterus (White-headed), Lobipluvia (Yellow-wattled), Sarciophorus (Black-headed), Anitibyx (Blacksmith) and Hemiparra (Long-toed).
Extant genera:

  • Vanellus (Middle/Late Pleistocene – Recent) – includes Belanopteryx.
  • Vanellus species from Belgian deposits middle Oligocene.
  • Vanellus chilensis prosphatus (‘Dorypaltus prosphatus’ Brodkorb 1959). Late Pleistocene lapwing bones from Florida regarded as indistinguishable from those of the Southern Lapwing except by being smaller. May not be specifically distinct but the lack of Southern Lapwing’s’ occurrence out of South America on a regular basis suggests that they may be better considered a separate paleosubspecies.
  • Vanellus downsi (‘Belonopterus downsi’ Campbell 2002) Extinct prehistoric species closely related to the Southern Lapwing found in California.
  • Oreopholus orcesi (Campbell 1976).

Extinct genus

  • Viator picis (Campbell, 1979) (Late Pleistocene of Talara, Peru) – may be synonym of Vanellus. Extinct genus and species from the Late Pleistocene asphalt deposits found near Talara, northwestern Peru.
  • BirdLife International: IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2020
  • Campbell, Kenneth Eugene Jr. (1979). The Non-passerine Pleistocene Avifauna of the Talara Tar Seeps, Northwestern Peru – Life Sciences Contributions. 118. Royal Ontario Museum. pp. 1–203. ISBN 978-0-88854-230-4
  • Campbell, Kenneth Eugene Jr. (2002). A New Species of Late Pleistocene Lapwing from Rancho La Brea, California – The Condor, Volume 104, Issue 1, 1 February 2002, Pages 170–174, https://doi.org/10.1093/condor/104.1.170
  • del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliot & Jordi Sargatal: Handbook of the Birds of the World – Vol. 3 (1996)
  • Hayman, Peter, John Marchant & Tony Prater: Shorebirds – An identification guide to the waders of the world (1986)
  • Jobling, James A.: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010)
  • Seebohm, Henry: The Geographical Distribution of the Family Charadriidae, or, The Plovers, Sandpipers, Snipes, and Their Allies (1888)
  • Wikipedia: List of fossil bird genera https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fossil_bird_genera#Charadriiformes

Click on an image for more information about the individual species.

Genus Vanellus

Lapwings
AFRICAN WATTLED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
ANDEAN LAPWING – Least Concern

BANDED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
BLACK-HEADED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
BLACK-SHOULDERED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
BLACKSMITH LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
BLACK-WINGED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
BROWN-CHESTED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
CROWNED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
GREY-HEADED LAPWING – Least Concern

Java Lapwing
JAVAN LAPWING – Critically Endangered

Lapwings
LONG-TOED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
MASKED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
NORTHERN LAPWING – Near Threatened

Lapwings
PIED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
RED-WATTLED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
RIVER LAPWING – Near Threatened

Lapwing
SENEGAL LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
SOCIABLE LAPWING – Critically Endangered

Lapwings
SOUTHERN LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwing
SPOT-BREASTED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
WHITE-CROWNED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING – Least Concern

Lapwings
YELLOW-WATTLED LAPWING – Least Concern

Genus Erythrogonys

RED-KNEED DOTTEREL – Least Concern