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Guyamere, Toco

Head, neck and upperparts are pale brown. Wings are bronze with a tinge of green. The wing coverts are white with the outer feathers black, these features are only seen when in flight. The upper breast is black. The lower breast is white. The forehead and throat are black with a white border. The legs are long and a reddish brown. Both sexes are similar with their size being approximately 13 - 15 inches (33 - 38 cm).

Resident in Trinidad and Tobago, these Lapwings inhabit open savannahs. They are usually seen in pairs, however their expansion has meant that especially on golf courses several pairs will inhabit an area forming a small flock. They are noisy birds calling constantly, which use a run and wait method of feeding.

Lapwings are extremely vigilant birds when nesting and begin taking defensive action when a potential predator is more than 200 feet from their nest. At times they will quietly run from the nest in a crouched position. At other times, when approached they adopt a crouched frozen position. Their more usual action however is to stand upright and begin calling. These calls serve to alert their chicks plus other neighboring birds to the presence of the intruder. These alerting calls are then followed by more aggressive action. The Lapwings may run at the intruder or swoop at the intruder from above. At times neighboring Lapwings will join in the swoop attack and mob the intruder. Sometimes the swoop attack will develop into a peck attack, where the birds will attempt to peck at the intruder with their bill and feet. This peck attack is particularly used when the intruder is a reptile. The swoop attack tends to be usesd with other predators including falcons and caracaras. This aggressive behavior when nesting extends to humans and both the swoop and peck attacks will be used.

Family - Plovers

Other Names - Cayenne Lapwing

Latin Name - Vanellus chilensis

Range - Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and southern South America

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Movietown seafront, port of spain



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Ste. Madeline

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Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London

Jeffrey R. Walters, 1990. Anti-Predatory Behavior of Lapwings: Field Evidence of Discriminative Abilities. Wilson Bulletin, Vol. 102, 49 - 70

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Last modified: February 16, 2008