Overview

Distribution

Range

Sandy riverbanks of Africa south of the Sahara.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This species is essentially sedentary but during periods of flooding it leaves rivers and moves to drier ground or temporary lagoons (Johnsgard 1981). Outside of the breeding season the species is gregarious and can generally be found in groups of 6-12 birds, occasionally in flocks of up to 30 (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996) or more on migration to less flooded areas (Johnsgard 1981). Breeding occurs mainly during the dry season (del Hoyo, et al. 1996), and at this time the species is highly territorial and is found in isolated pairs (Johnsgard 1981). In western and equatorial Africa breeding usually begins near the end of April, with exact dates varying with locallity (Johnsgard 1981). Habitat This species inhabits large rivers with sandy riverbanks and islands or sandbanks mid-stream, both in open country and forest (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996, Hockey, et al. 2005). During floods it is also found on small streams, pans and lagoons (del Hoyo, et al. 1996, Hockey, et al. 2005), and sometimes occurs on lake shores (e.g. Lake Kariba) (Urban, et al. 1986, Hockey, et al. 2005) foraging for worms in damp grassy places (Urban, et al. 1986). Diet The species is mainly omnivorous, taking insects (including beetles, weevils, ants, mantids and mutillid wasps), worms, molluscs, crabs, other small crustaceans and small fish (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996, Hockey, et al. 2005) or frogs (Johnsgard 1981, Hockey, et al. 2005); very rarely taking vegetable matter (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a lined shallow scrape on sand or shingle in riverbeds at times of low water (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Source: IUCN

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is threatened in South Africa by habitat degradation owing to decreasing river flows (resulting from afforestation, invasive plant species and increasing water abstraction) (Hockey, et al. 2005).
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Wikipedia

White-crowned lapwing

The white-crowned lapwing, white-headed lapwing, white-headed plover or white-crowned plover (Vanellus albiceps) is a medium-sized wader. It is resident throughout tropical Africa, usually near large rivers.

Description[edit]

Upper body showing facial wattles

This lapwing is unmistakable. Its wings and tail are strikingly patterned in black and white, the back is brown and the underparts white. The head is particularly striking, being mainly grey, but with a white crown and foreneck. The eyering, facial wattles and legs are yellow. Females, males and young birds are similar in plumage.

Behaviour[edit]

It is a wader which breeds on exposed sand or shingle near rivers. 2–3 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including the hippopotamus.

Food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates. This species often feeds in small flocks when not breeding.

Status[edit]

The white-crowned lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

References[edit]

Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-7099-2034-2

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