On Friday I gave you this specimen to identify:
I thought that it might prove a difficult one, but it seems I should have had more faith in the identification skills of my readers (you talented bunch), since the correct answer was delivered with little ado.
The long legs suggested that it was a wading bird to curatorialtrainee and Harry then tentatively suggested what turned out to be the correct answer, which was consolidated by the observations of henstridgesj and the input of David. Jake also spotted what bird this was by comparing the skull to the images on the very useful skullsite.com
It is a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (Linnaeus, 1758) also known as a Peewit since that’s what their call sounds like.
When I was younger these Charadriiform birds were a common sight, but their numbers have declined considerably in England and Wales over the past few decades. In fact their numbers have seen an 80% reduction since 1960, due largely to changes in land use which impact upon the availability of suitable nesting sites for these ground-nesting birds.
I must admit that I used to find their odd flight quite fascinating – their wings seemed to be different to those of other birds – very wide towards the tips and they appeared to have a somewhat awkward flapping style. I miss seeing the large flocks that we used to get in Hertfordshire, similar to the one in the video below.