Nature Champions: Lapwing

(c) Lorne Gill NatureScot

Lapwings are part of the plover family of wading birds and can be seen in the UK all year round.  Also known as the peewit in imitation of its display calls, its proper name describes its wavering flight.  They breed throughout Scotland with the highest concentrations in the Hebrides and Northern Isles, and in lowland agricultural areas of the South and East.

In the winter, lapwings will tend to fly in loose bunched flocks with Scottish birds moving to lower ground and estuaries, some migrating to Ireland and even further to France or Portugal.  Despite their migrations, they come back to the same fields to nest ever year.

Although widespread in Scotland, the number of lapwings declined by 59% between 1995 and 2013.  In 2015, the lapwing was listed as “globally near threatened” on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.

Action Needed

  • Support farmers, crofters and land owners who undertake wader friendly management on their land.
  • Support policies that encourage sustainable food production.
  • Support policies that protect High Nature Value farmland.
  • Support the continued development of wader-friendly partnership initiatives


  • Changes in land management, such as more intensively managed grassland, increased drainage and abandoned land.
  • Afforestation of open habitats.
  • Increase in predation.

MSP Nature Champion

Richard Lochhead

Member for: Moray

Region: Highlands and Islands

Party: Scottish National Party

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