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Spur-winged Plover/Lapwing

Vanellus spinosus


Charadriidae, lapwin and plover family

Conservation Status:

Least concern, IUCN


Essentially an African species from Senegal in the west to northern Kenya but also occurs in Turkey and Syria and even in Greece and Bulgaria.


Near fresh or saline pools, lakes, rivers, lagoons or marshes

They are medium-large waders with black crown, chest, fore neck stripe and tail. The face, the rest of the neck and belly are white and the wings and back are light brown. The bill and legs are black. Its striking appearance is supplemented by its noisy nature, with a loud “did-he-do-it” call. The bird got its name because of a spur (a small claw) hidden in each of its wings. Note that the well-known “spur-winged plover” of southern Australia is a different species, Vanellus miles. To avoid confusion it has been re-named “masked lapwing.”

They are usually found in pairs or small groups. Has a complex courtship display featuring its pied pattern and wing spurs. Nest is a simple scrape on a sand or shingle bank. Lays 3 to 4 eggs which are olive or yellowish spotted with brown or black. Both sexes incubate for 22-24 days, and the chicks are brooded for about three weeks. The spur-winged plover is known to sometimes use the wing-claws in an attack on animals and, rarely, people who get too close to the birds’ exposed offspring.

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