The white-tailed lapwing usually occurs in flocks of 6 to 25 individuals during winter and in much smaller flocks during migration. It feeds on a range of small invertebrates, such as worms and molluscs, as well as on a variety of insects, especially beetles and grasshoppers. It also occasionally takes small vertebrates (2) (4) (5). Using its long legs to wade through the water, the white-tailed lapwing picks its prey from on or just below the water’s surface (4). Unusually, the white-tailed lapwing also swims when foraging, and is one of only two species in its family to regularly put its head underwater when searching for food (5). It will also find food on dry ground (3).
A seasonal and monogamous breeder, the white-tailed lapwing rears its young in loose colonies of 4 to 24 pairs, although one such colony was found to consist of up to 100 pairs (5). The breeding season occurs from April to May. Nest sites include dried rice paddies, vegetated marshes and overgrown islets. The nest of the white-tailed lapwing is formed from a shallow depression in open ground with an occasional vegetation lining and has a mud structure around the edge which is thought to protect against flooding (6).
The white-tailed lapwing usually has a clutch of 4 eggs, which are incubated for 21 to 24 days. Once the chicks hatch, they are cared for by both adults (2). Lapwing species are known to be particularly aggressive around the nest, calling loudly and swooping down on any intruders to protect their brood (5).