Tuesday 21 May
Sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)
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Sociable lapwing fact file
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Sociable lapwing description
This conspicuously marked plover has yellow cheeks beneath a black stripe running from the black beak through the eye. It has a white stripe above this and a black cap on the crown. The wings, chest and tail are pale brown, with a dark brown, red and white underside. Juveniles are pale brown with a streaked black belly. The sociable lapwing calls with a harsh ‘kretsch kretsch’ and a rapid chattering (2).
- Also known as
- Sociable plover.
- Vanneau sociable.
- Length: 27 – 30 cm (2)
- UNEP/AEWA. (2004) International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius. AEWA Technical Series No. 2, Bonn, Germany. Available at:
- BirdLife International:
- Relating to or belonging to a colony (a group of organisms living together in a group).
- Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
- A biome (or subdivision of the Earth’s surface) that is composed of a swathe of temperate grassland stretching from Romania to China.
- Hoofed, grazing mammals.
- IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
- BirdLife International (January, 2005)
- Convention on Migratory Species (May, 2008)
- African-Eurasian Migratory Water Bird Agreement (January, 2005)
- BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
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Sociable lapwing biology
Breeding in the west-central Asian steppes between the end of March and early July (5), the sociable plover nests semi-colonially in open country (2) (5). The nests are usually unlined depressions in the earth, unless conditions are damp, when nests of grass and weeds are constructed. Four eggs are laid and are incubated for 25 days. The male and female lapwings care for the hatchlings until they fledge 35 to 40 days later (5).Top
Sociable lapwing range
The sociable lapwing breeds in Russia and Kazakhstan, dispersing through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey to winter grounds in Israel, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. It may also be found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman during the winter. However, this species is suffering a very rapid decline in numbers and a severe range reduction (2).Top
Sociable lapwing habitatTop
Sociable lapwing status
The sociable lapwing is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and is listed on Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (3). It is also listed on the African-Eurasian Migratory Water Bird Agreement (4).Top
Sociable lapwing threats
The cause of the recent decline in sociable lapwing numbers is unknown, but it has been suggested that their habitat may have been changed after a reduction in grazing by large herds of native ungulates and domestic cattle. This species increasingly breeds near villages, where conversion of the land to farmland is imminent, and where additional threats, such as predation by domestic animals, are more likely. A further concern is the substantial increase in numbers of a predator of the sociable lapwing, the rook, Corvus frugilegus. Finally, both the breeding and wintering grounds of this species have become drier, which may be disrupting prey organism availability (2).Top
Sociable lapwing conservation
The sociable lapwing is legally protected in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Plans to survey the bird’s movements in Kazakhstan should help to identify key threats. Protecting grassland steppe habitats, regulating livestock numbers and managing colonies during the nesting period are all key aims in plans to conserve this species (2).Top
Find out more
For further information on the sociable lapwing see:
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