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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis: Sarcopterygii
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Ordo: Charadriiformes
Subordo: Charadrii

Familia: Charadriidae
Subfamilia: Vanellinae
Genera: Erythrogonys - Vanellus
Name

Vanellinae (Bonaparte, 1842)
Vernacular names
dansk: Viber
Deutsch: Kiebitze
English: Lapwings
français: Vanneaux
polski: Czajki
português: Abibe

Lapwings (subfamily Vanellinae) are any of various ground-nesting birds (family Charadriidae) akin to plovers and dotterels. They range from 10 to 16 inches in length, and are noted for their slow, irregular wingbeats in flight and a shrill, wailing cry. A group of lapwings is called a "deceit."[1]

The traditional terms "plover", "lapwing", and "dotterel" do not correspond exactly to current taxonomic models; thus, several of the Vanellinae are often called plovers, and one a dotterel, while a few of the "true" plovers (subfamily Charadriinae) are known colloquially as lapwings. In general, a lapwing can be thought of as a larger plover.

In Europe's Anglophone countries, lapwing refers specifically to the northern lapwing, the only member of this group to occur in most of the continent and thus the first bird to go by the English name lapwing (also known as peewit or pyewipe).

Systematics
See also: Vanellus

While authorities generally agree that there about 25 species of Vanellinae, classifications within the subfamily remain confused. At one extreme, Peters recognised no less than 20 different genera for the birds listed in 2 genera here; other workers have gone so far as to group all the "true" lapwings (except the red-kneed dotterel) into the single genus Vanellus. Current consensus favors a more moderate position, but it is unclear which genera to split. The Handbook of Birds of the World provisionally lumps all Vanellinae into Vanellus except the red-kneed dotterel, which is in the monotypic Erythrogonys. Its plesiomorphic habitus resembles that of plovers, but details like the missing hallux (hind toe) are like those of lapwings: it is still not entirely clear whether it is better considered the most basal plover or lapwing.[2]

Many coloration details of the red-kneed dotterel also occur here and there among the living members of the main lapwing clade. Its position as the most basal of the living Vanellinae or just immediately outside it thus means that their last common ancestor – or even the last common ancestor of plovers and lapwings – almost certainly was a plover-sized bird with a black crown and breast-band, a white feather patch at the wrist, no hallux, and a lipochromic (probably red) bill with a black tip. Its legs were most likely black or the color of the bill's base.[3]
Evolution

"Birdsong at Carrington Moss" (0:18)
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A lapwing and a chaffinch at Carrington Moss, in England
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The fossil record of the Vanellinae is scant and mostly recent in origin; no Neogene lapwings seem to be known. On the other hand, it appears as if early in their evolutionary history the plovers, lapwings and dotterels must have been almost one and the same, and they are hard to distinguish osteologically even today. Thus, since the Red-kneed Dotterel is so distinct that it might arguably be considered a monotypic subfamily, reliably dating its divergence from a selection of true lapwings and plovers would also give a good idea of charadriid wader evolution altogether.

A mid-Oligocene – c.28 mya (million years ago) – fossil from Rupelmonde in Belgium has been assigned to Vanellus, but even if the genus were broadly defined, it is entirely unclear if the placement is correct. Its age ties in with the appearance of the first seemingly distinct Charadriinae at about the same time, and with the presence of more basal Charadriidae a few million years earlier. However, the assignment of fragmentary fossils to Charadriinae or Vanellinae is not easy. Thus, it is very likely that the charadriid waders originate around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary – roughly 40–30 mya – but nothing more can be said at present. If the Belgian fossil is not a true lapwing, there are actually no Vanellinae fossils known before the Quaternary.[4]

The Early Oligocene fossil Dolicopterus[5] from Ronzon, France may be such an ancestral member of the Charadriidae or even the Vanellinae, but it has not been studied in recent decades and is in dire need of review.[6]

Apart from the prehistoric Vanellus, the extinct lapwing genus Viator has been described from fossils. Its remains were found in the tar pits of Talara in Peru and it lived in the Late Pleistocene. Little is known of this rather large lapwing; it may actually belong in Vanellus.[7]

The remaining Charadrii are highset and/or chunky birds, even decidedly larger than a lot of the scolopacid waders. The evolutionary trend regarding the Charadriidae – which make up most of the diversity of the Charadrii – thus runs contrary to Cope's Rule.[3]
List of species in taxonomic order

Genus Vanellus

Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
White-headed lapwing, Vanellus albiceps
Southern lapwing, Vanellus chilensis
Grey-headed lapwing, Vanellus cinereus
Crowned lapwing, Vanellus coronatus
Long-toed lapwing, Vanellus crassirostris
River lapwing or spur-winged lapwing, Vanellus duvaucelii
Red-wattled lapwing, Vanellus indicus
Masked lapwing, Vanellus miles
Spur-winged lapwing or spur-winged plover, Vanellus spinosus
Banded lapwing, Vanellus tricolor
Blacksmith lapwing, Vanellus armatus
Black-headed lapwing, Vanellus tectus
Yellow-wattled lapwing, Vanellus malabaricus
Senegal lapwing, Vanellus lugubris
Black-winged lapwing, Vanellus melanopterus
African wattled lapwing, Vanellus senegallus
Spot-breasted lapwing, Vanellus melanocephalus
Brown-chested lapwing, Vanellus superciliosus
Javanese wattled lapwing, Vanellus macropterus
Sociable lapwing, Vanellus gregarius
White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus
Pied lapwing, Vanellus cayanus
Andean lapwing, Vanellus resplendens

Genus Erythrogonys

Red-kneed dotterel, Erythrogonys cinctus

Footnotes

Lipton, James (1991). An Exaltation of Larks. Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-30044-0.
Piersma & Wiersma (1996), Thomas et al. (2004)
Piersma & Wiersma (1996)
Piersma & Wiersma (1996), Mlíkovský (2002)
Not Dolichopterus, contra Mlíkovský (2002)
Mlíkovský (2002)

Campbell (2002)

References

Campbell, Kenneth E. Jr. (2002). A new species of Late Pleistocene lapwing from Rancho La Brea, California [English with Spanish abstract]. Condor 104: 170–174. DOI:10.1650/0010-5422(2002)104[0170:ANSOLP]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract and first page image
Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002). Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press, Prague. ISBN 80-901105-3-8 PDF fulltext
Piersma, Theunis & Wiersma, Popko (1996). Family Charadriidae (Plovers). In: del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew & Sargatal, Jordi (eds.): Handbook of Birds of the World (Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks): 384–443, plates 35–39. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-20-2
Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A. & Székely, Tamás (2004). A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. BMC Evol. Biol. 4: 28. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-28 PMID 15329156 PDF fulltext Supplementary Material

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