Over the last month on my visits to the Flowerdale Men’s Shed, I have noticed a pair of Masked Lapwings (a species of Plover) frequenting the cricket oval nearby.
This morning the pair became quite agitated even to dive bombing my car. The reason soon became apparent when out of the corner of my eye I caught something scuttling into the fence. Closer inspection revealed this chick that I caught on camera. At probably only a couple of days old and unable to fly, the only defence this chick has from predators is its ability to remain perfectly still and blend in with the leaf litter around it. Great camouflage!
The aggression of the parents crying an alarm call and wheeling around to gain enough height for another dive is designed to distract and confuse a predator, the annoyance driving it away. When this doesn’t work they land nearby and attempt to lead the predator away before resuming their aerial attack.
This bird is found throughout eastern Australia and has naturalised in New Zealand where as kids we called this bird the Spur winged Plover. This is owing to the spur found on the carpal joint of each wing. These fearless birds are known to strike smaller predators with the spur during a diving attack.