Senegal Lapwing

Vanellus lugubris

The Senegal Lapwing, also known as the Lesser Black-winged Plover, is a rather uncommon denizen of open savannas and woodlands with a covering of short grass, being especially fond of recently burned veld, and prone to localised migrations as soon as the grass cover grows too long for them to easily find the termites that make up the majority of their diet.

Senegal Lapwings are partly nocturnal (especially so on moonlit nights), move around in small flocks, and breed in spring and summer with monogamous pairs forming loose colonies when nesting. The nest is little more than a scrape in the ground in which a clutch of 3 or 4 eggs are incubated for a month by both parents. The chicks are precocious, leaving the nest about 4 hours after hatching to follow their parents around and feeding themselves. The chicks learn to fly from around a month old, but may stay with the parents until the next breeding season. Adults weigh around 115g and measure 24cm in length.

Listed as being of least concern by the IUCN, the Senegal Lapwing has a discontinuous distribution over parts of west, central, east and southern Africa. In South Africa it occurs only in the north of Kwazulu-Natal and in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province.

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