By Michael Shrubb

With its impressive green-black and white plumage and specified pee-wit name, the Lapwing is one among Britain's best-known birds. Lapwings depend upon agricultural land to reproduce and are thought of a barometer of the overall healthiness of this habitat; the inhabitants has crashed over contemporary a long time, partially because of adjustments in farming practices. In wintry weather, Lapwings change to coastal components and to wetlands, together with these in suburban parts, the place huge, noisy flocks can assemble. Michael Shrubb's The Lapwing is a concise but authoritative monograph of this renowned species; an intensive evaluate of Lapwing biology comprises sections on inhabitants dynamics, feeding ecology, habitat use, migration, and conservation; there's an impressively special evaluation of our present figuring out of breeding biology, plus dialogue of a few different species within the genus. The Lapwing is a wonderful addition to the Poyser checklist. Of curiosity to either novice naturalists, who will get pleasure from insights into the birds' lives, and to teachers, who will get pleasure from the wide evaluation of present examine, this name will stay the definitive paintings at the species for a few years to return.

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Extra info for The Lapwing (Poyser Monographs)

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In consequence, declines of up to 90% in Lapwings were recorded. Similar problems have been noted in north Wales, where forage maize is an increasingly important crop. Significant numbers of Lapwings are attracted to nest in these fields, which are left bare over winter, but a study in 2000 found that only 17% of nests successfully hatched in maize, compared to 46% in pasture. J. Prater pers. ). The main problem with growing maize in such areas is the timing of cultivation. As the crop is susceptible to frost damage, cultivation tends to be delayed into late April or early May, so catching nests at a critical stage.

Ticehurst (1932) noted that the crop from the unnamed Thetford estate had declined to 60 dozen annually by the 1880s and to six dozen by 1902. References for Banffshire and Tay Valley are Harvie-Brown & Buckley 1895 and Harvie-Brown 1906. 34 The Lapwing the scale of the trade. Even so, they indicate that thousands of eggs were gathered for sale in the 19th century and many other similar records are scattered through the literature. T. 5ha in East Lothian in 1864. Such statistics were also gathered mainly at the point of sale and say nothing of the casual collection of eggs for food by farm workers and fishermen and so forth, which was widespread and continued into my boyhood.

It also affects the vegetation, particularly by converting dwarf shrub heathland to grass, a process which increases water loss by evaporation, as well as further encouraging run-off. Both processes mean that upland areas no longer hold water as once they did, to the detriment of upland birds, especially waders. It also exacerbates flooding problems downstream, which promotes demand for flood protection schemes detrimental to lowland wetlands. There seems little reason to doubt that the dry conditions modern land management has increasingly imposed on the countryside have made an important contribution to the decline of breeding Lapwings by limiting nesting opportunities and, particularly, by making it increasingly difficult for them to rear the young they still hatch successfully.

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