The New International Encyclopædia/Lapwing
LAPWING (AS. hlēapewince, lapwing, from hlēapan, OHG. hlaufan, Ger. laufen, to run, Goth. us-hlaupan, to spring up + AS. wincian, OHG. winchan, Ger. winken, Eng. wink; so called from the jerky motion of the wings, but confused by popular etymology with lap + wing), or Peewit. An Old World plover (Vanellus cristatus), differing from the true plovers chiefly in having a hind toe. It is numerous in summer in all the temperate parts of Europe and Asia, but the majority migrate southward in winter. It is very plover-like in form and habits, and among the most beautiful of shore-birds. The head, which is surmounted with a beautiful crest, is black; the throat black in summer and white in winter; the back is green, glossed with purple and copper color. The lapwing is very plentiful in moors, open commons, and marshy tracts, in pairs during the breeding season, and in winter in flocks, chiefly on the seashore, where its plaintive cry suggests the name ‘peewit’ (or in Scotland ‘peesweep’), by which it is known in popular speech. Its artifices to prevent the discovery of its nest are as eager and ingenious as those of other plovers, and, like them, its nest is little more than a depression in the ground containing four eggs. These eggs are esteemed a great delicacy, and great numbers are sent to the London market, under the name of plovers' eggs. The bird itself is also highly esteemed for the table. The resulting persecution was so great that the bird nearly vanished from Great Britain; it is now, however, protected by law, and is again numerous. Consult Newton, Dictionary of Birds (London, 1893-96), and other authorities on British birds. See Plate of Plovers.