AskDefine | Define peewit

Dictionary Definition



1 large crested Old World plover having wattles and spurs [syn: lapwing, green plover, pewit]
2 small olive-colored woodland flycatchers of eastern North America [syn: pewee, peewee, pewit, wood pewee, Contopus virens]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings

  • pewit


  1. any of several birds

Extensive Definition

The Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), also known as the Peewit, Green Plover or (in the British Isles) just Lapwing, is a bird in the plover family. It is common through temperate Europe, and across temperate Asia. It occasionally is a vagrant to North America. Many records in North America happen after storms. A storm in December 1927 and another in January 1966 account for an appreciable part of Canadian records.
It is highly migratory over most of its extensive range, wintering further south as far as north Africa, northern India and China. It migrates mainly by day, often in large flocks. Lowland breeders in westernmost areas of Europe are resident.
It is a wader which breeds on cultivated land and other short vegetation habitats. 3–4 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including horses and cattle.
The numbers of this species have been adversely affected by intensive agricultural techniques. In winter it forms huge flocks on open land, particularly arable land and mud-flats.
This lapwing is a 28-31cm long bird with a 67-72cm wingspan, It has rounded wings and a crest. It is the shortest-legged of the lapwings. It is mainly black and white, but the back is tinted green. Females and young birds have narrower wings, and have less strongly-marked heads, but plumages are otherwise quite similar.
The name lapwing has been variously attributed to the "lapping" sound its wings make in flight, from the irregular progress in flight due to its large wings (OED derives this from an Old English word meaning "to totter"), or from its habit of drawing potential predators away from its nest by trailing a wing as if broken. Peewit describes the bird's shrill call. This is a vocal bird in the breeding season, with constant calling as the crazed tumbling display flight is performed by the male.
Food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates. This species often feeds in mixed flocks with Golden Plovers and Black-headed Gulls, the latter often robbing the two plovers, but providing a degree of protection against predators.
Like the Golden Plovers, this species prefers to feed nocturnally when there are moonlit nights.
In The Netherlands it is a cultural-historical competition to finds the first Peewit egg of the year (het eerste kievitsei). It's especially popular in Friesland province. There are also regional competitions.
The Northern Lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.


  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-7099-2034-2


peewit in Belarusian: Кнігаўка
peewit in Bulgarian: Обикновена калугерица
peewit in Catalan: Fredeluga
peewit in Czech: Čejka chocholatá
peewit in Welsh: Cornchwiglen
peewit in Danish: Vibe
peewit in German: Kiebitz (Art)
peewit in Estonian: Kiivitaja
peewit in Erzya: Цибирькай
peewit in Spanish: Vanellus vanellus
peewit in Esperanto: Vanelo
peewit in French: Vanneau huppé
peewit in Western Frisian: Ljip
peewit in Galician: Avefría
peewit in Italian: Vanellus vanellus
peewit in Georgian: პრანწია
peewit in Lithuanian: Pempė
peewit in Hungarian: Bíbic
peewit in Dutch: Kievit
peewit in Japanese: タゲリ
peewit in Norwegian: Vipe
peewit in Norwegian Nynorsk: Vipe
peewit in Low German: Kiewitt
peewit in Polish: Czajka
peewit in Portuguese: Abibe-comum
peewit in Russian: Чибис
peewit in Finnish: Töyhtöhyyppä
peewit in Swedish: Tofsvipa
peewit in Turkish: Bayağı kız kuşu
peewit in Ukrainian: Чайка
peewit in Slovak: Cíbik chochlatý
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