White-crowned Lapwing

Vanellus albiceps

White-crowned Lapwings are usually seen on the sandy or muddy banks and islands of large rivers and other natural waterbodies, searching for invertebrates and occasionally small frogs and fish to feed on. Adults weigh approximately 190g and measure around 30cm in length.

Outside of the breeding season White-crowned Lapwings congregate in groups of up to 30, though more usually numbering 6-12, but during the dry-season breeding period they are to be found in highly territorial pairs.  The nest is a scrape or the footprint of a large mammal in the sand, vigorously defended against any bird or animal that ventures too close. Clutches consist of 2 or 3 eggs.

In South Africa the White-crowned Lapwing occurs only in the Lowveld and Limpopo Valley and is considered rare and threatened by diminishing river flows – there’s only about 90 pairs in total along the Limpopo, Luvuvhu, Olifants and Sabie Rivers in the Kruger National Park. North of our borders they are found patchily in parts of southern and eastern Africa, with the majority of the population occurring in central and west Africa. It is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN.

25 thoughts on “White-crowned Lapwing

  1. naturebackin

    Such remarkable birds and I enjoyed seeing them through your photos. We will look out for them on our visit to Kruger next year. Sad to learn about another species adversely affected by our fraught river systems.

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  2. Reflections of an Untidy Mind

    Ir looks like quite a delicate little bird, although its breeding strategy seems rather fraught. I wonder about some of these IUCN listings. If they are based on in-country surveys commissioned by the home government, then that could really skew the results. For example, our environment departments and parks and wildlife services are massively under-funded and survey data is often not current.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thankfully South Africa has a very passionate and dedicated citizen scientist community, Tracy – the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) being an excellent case in point, providing fantastic insights into the distribution and population dynamics of our birdlife that no government or agency would be able to collect otherwise.

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      1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

        Beslis! hier is bv ook die besoedeling van water ook die oorbeweiding van velde langs riviere. Nou wil hul dit omkeer en weiding weg te hou maar probleem bly daar is te veel beeste op te klein stukkies veld. Ai die mens is ook maar ïnhalig”. Hoe kan dit ook anders, daar moet voorsien word in vleis en melk vir mense en natuur moet maar terugstaan.

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