This species is unmistakable.
In adult specimens, the male has a much higher crest with a greater curvature, there is a clear spot on the four outermost primaries, lesser blue-colored coverts. The female has the 10th primarie a blackish brown color. The three outermost primaries have a clear spot. The lesser coverts are blue-green in color.
It is possible to recognize 3 different ages:
Juvenile specimen: wide ante edge to the feathers of the back and wing coverts, short crest feathers, chesty brown, revealing a new plumage.
1st year / 2nd year specimen: plumage similar to that of the adult, the age can be dated by the characters given in SEXING.
Adult specimen: feathers of the body and wing coverts with brown extremity in autumn, which disappears by natural wear during the winter, long crest feathers, outer tail feather usually with dark spots on the two vanes, although it is something very variable depending on the specimen.
Northern Lapwing undergo a complete post-nuptial molt, in a very extended period (between April and October), occasionally the secondarie molt is retained. The post-juvenile molt is usually partial, including the body feathers, some inner secondaries and rectrices, and usually all or most of the wing coverts, usually finished in November. Both types of age have a pre-nuptial molt that includes body feathers and occasionally some wing coverts and tertials.
Primaries: 10 per wing.
Secundaries: 17-18 per wing.