Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Post-15 BAP. Updated to 2023





Lapwing have a slow, flappy flight of flickering black and white and ‘pee-wit’ call; in spring, males display in a tumbling flight.

Lapwing breed and over-winter in Barnsley although land drainage and agricultural intensification has reduced farmland numbers. It is now found in the Dearne Valley and on upland pastures.

Lapwing feed on invertebrates including worms and larvae found in grazed pasture and wetlands.

Conservation includes:


Lapwing nest on bare ground and in short plant cover (<5cm).

They nest in in open wet grass-lands with a very short sward (<5cm), tussocks 10-15 cm) for cover, and pools and muddy areas for Feeding. They avoid trees and hedges.

They have one brood a year from late March to early June. Too early mowing or grazing destroys nests; overstocking with cattle can lead to nests being trampled.


Resident breeding bird

UKBAP 2007 Priority Species

NERC Section 41 Species of Principal Importance

BoCC5 Red List [IOCN2 VU]

Redshank have distinctive bright orange-red legs. Often seen feeding in shallow water, probing their bills into the mud, they fly off with a cry, flashing white .

Redshank breed in Barnsley. Land drainage has reduced  the small upland numbers however it is found in Dearne Valley wetlands

Decline due to drainage, re-seeding, fertilising of grassland.

Conservation includes



Resident breeding bird

Scarce and localised in Barnsley

BoCC5 Amber List

Redshank feed on invertebrates: insect larvae, earthworms.

They nest in wet grassland, with a varied sward, near standing water and muddy areas for feeding.

They have one brood a year from April to mid .June. Too early mowing or grazing destroys nests; overstocking with cattle can lead to nests being trampled.

Snipe, a stocky, brown well- camouflaged bid, has a long straight bill, and typically a drumming display flight.

Although a passage winter visitor, Snipe breed in Barnsley from  April to July in upland areas and to some extent on lowland wetlands.

Snipe feed mainly on earthworms, leatherjackets, beetles and caterpillars with the young fed on earthworms.

Conservation includes:

RSPB land management advice


Snipe, Common

BoCC5 Amber List [IUCN2 VU]

Moderate decline in last quarter century but steep decline in lowland wet grassland

Snipe breed on wet flushes on moorland, damp pasture and near the edges of standing water.

Snipe nest on wet tussocky ground with vegetation with both shorter grass and quite tall grasses and rushes. Small field corners may support Snipe

They also need soft, damp soil &/or shallow, muddy-bottomed pools, close to cover, to feed.

Ringed Plover, a small, short-legged wader, with a brown back, white underparts and  a black collar and face markings.

Its orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs, white wing-stripe and no yellow ring around its eye, distinguishes it from the Little Ringed Plover.

They feed on insects and other aquatic invertebrates.

Conservation measures:



Ringed Plover, which nests around the coast, have now begun breeding inland in pits and former industrial sites. Its numbers have severely declined.

The nest is a shallow scrape, lined with stones, with 1 to 3 broods April to September.

Weather,predation, disturbance, often lead to nest failure, and nesting habitat in Barnsley is often transient and conservation difficult to achieve.

Ringed Plover

Breeding bird,

BoCC5 Red List [IUCN2 VU]

Little Ringed Plover

A small, short-legged wader, with a distinctive black and white head pattern. It is similar to the Ringed Plover, but it has black bill, pale, brown legs, and a yellow ring around the eye,

Nests are found on level areas of stony ground, little or no vegetation and normally close to shallow water, with muddy edges for feeding on insects and aquatic invertebrates. They produce 1 or 2 broods from April to September.

Conservation measures:


A scarce summer visitor to the UK, the Little Ringed Plover increased numbers in Barnsley, exploiting local manmade habitats: coal waste shale and former sidings rail ballast, with subsidence pools forming suitable feeding areas,

As these post-industrial sites were landscaped or built on, LRPs use other transient brownfield sites, wetlands reserves in the Dearne Valley, and possibly upland reservoir edges.

Little Ringed Plover

Migrant breeding bird

Schedule 1

BoCC5 Green List

Ten pairs // less than 15

Snipe. Image: Ron Marshall Ringed Plover. Image: Ron Marshall Little Ringed Plover


Schedule 1

BoCC5 Amber List - due to localised distribution

Avocet, a distinctive black and white wader, it sweeps its long, up-curved bill from side to side through water or loose sediment to locate hidden prey.

Avocets have only recently bred in Barnsley - in the Dearne Valley wetlands as a result of the conservation measures there.

Avocets feed on aquatic invertebrates by wading in shallow water.

Conservation measures


Avocet nest on open ground close to water, often in small groups.

It has one brood of 3-5 eggs, using  shallow lined scrape on bare mud, gravel or sparse vegetation.

The numbers nesting depends on the availability of suitable nest sites, distance to water and risk of predation.

Wetland birds - waders

Several priority species of waders breed on wet grassland or marshy areas, in lowland wetlands in Barnsley or on the moorland fringe. However drainage and agricultural improvement have reduced the upland breeding opportunities. Breeding waders need open areas away from hedges and trees, a varied, patchy sward with tussocks for nesting and cover, and wet, muddy areas for feeding.

Curlew, a large mottled brown-grey wader, it has a long beak curved down, and a distinctive carrying call. In flight its white wedged rump is visible.

Curlew come to Barnsley in April to breed on the moors and upland rough wet grasslands, with some in lower areas.

Curlew feed in rough damp tussocky pasture. Adults use their long bills to probe for worms, leather-jackets and other invertebrates.

Conservation measures

RSPB Land management advice


See also upland birds


UKBAP 2007 Priority Species

NERC Section 41 Species of Principal Importance

BoCC5 Red List [IUNC2 EN]

General protection W&C Act


Curlew nest in rough grassland, with some tall vegetation, scattered tussocks and rush patches, and damp areas.

They usually have one brood, with a second if the first one fails. Young birds fledge in late June or July. Chicks feed on surface insects and spiders.

Drainage, ‘improvement’ of grasslands, tree planting, disturbance and predation cause declines.

The UK Breeding Water and Wetland bird populations indicator include several waders in the ‘Wet Meadow species’ section: Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Snipe, all Local Priority Species. As well as the Local Priority Species, other waders that breed in Barnsley include Oystercatcher, and Golden Plover and Dunlin on upland moors.

Sites that support a significant proportion of Barnsley’s breeding or wintering waders are also a conservation priority.

Wetland birds