Record flock of Sociable Lapwings discovered in Oman

By Martin Fowlie, Fri, 11/02/2011 - 13:05

Exciting news has just reached us that a country record flock of 90+ Sociable Lapwings was present at Salalah in Oman on December 25th, 2010. The record was submitted to the Amazing Journey team by Spanish birder Daniel Lopez Velasco who was on a birding trip to Oman with friends when they encountered the birds. You can see Daniel's excellent images of part of the flock in this post and watch his short video of one of the birds feeding here. "Having spent a couple of days searching for the BIG flock of Sociable Lapwings in south-eastern Turkey two Novembers ago without luck, I was very pleased to see this one!" reports Daniel. "We spent a couple of days birding Jarziz Farms, where the lapwings were located on the grassy, green, circular fields to the north west of the farm. They appeared fairly settled and were mainly feeding or roosting. During both our visits no one disturbed the birds which was good news!"

Record Sociable Lapwing flock, Salalah, Oman December 2010.

Oman is one of the best watched countries on the Arabian peninsula and there have been 105 previous records of single birds or small flocks of Sociable Lapwings occurring there between 1974 and 2010. Nearly all of these have been from three farms with large, irrigated fields. This latest flock of more than 90 individuals is the largest ever recorded - 48 were found present at Sahnout Farm, Salalah on 9th January 2010 and 29 at Jarziz Farm on 22nd January 2010. There is also a record of 24 at Jarziz Farm on 30th November 2008.

Although it is not possible to separate the apparent increase in records from greater observer effort and coverage, there does seem to be an increase in numbers since 2001. This corresponds with the encouraging population recovery now being experienced in Kazakhstan and is mirrored in the increasing number of winter records from India too. Historical records show that Oman has always been a wintering area for small numbers of Sociable Lapwings. The possibility of it just being a stopover site for birds then moving on to north-east Africa via Yemen is possible though unlikely (only three Yemen records) and it is probable birds stay there until the end of February at least. As a result of this record being reported local observers will now make an attempt to see if any of this flock is still present in the area. If you, or anyone you know, has seen birds at the site this winter (and particularly since this record) we'd be very grateful for an update. Like Daniel you can submit records of any Sociable Lapwings you encounter using our online reporting form. The increase in numbers in recent years suggests that the region is becoming increasingly important as a regular wintering area alongside East Sudan and India. It is possible to keep abreast of recent bird records in Oman by visiting the Birds Oman website run by Jens & Hanne Erikson. If you are fans of stunning Sociable Lapwing pictures check out their incredible photograhs.

Middle East Oman Preventing Extinctions


fantstic stuff. like it

Hello, I had the — exactly 90 — birds at the Jarziz green circle at the 27:th of January. Quite a shock to me, I was not aware of any Sociable Lapwings at all. :o)

Actually, this flock was spotted already in the beginning of Nov by me and a friend at the Sahnawt/Sahnout Farm, Salalah. Back then, it was at least 60 Sociable plovers. In addition, seven more birds were spotted at the new Dawkah farms in the desert a few days later.
Jim Lawrence's picture

Hi Tobias thanks for your report. This really helps us build up a clearer picture of these birds apparently now wintering in Oman. In addition to your report we have received several others since this story went live last Friday. We now know at least sixty Sociable Lapwings were present in the Salalah area from mid-November 2010. From Daniel's original report we learned at least 90 were at Jarziz farm on December 25th 2010. Jens Erikson (<a href="http://www.birdsoman.com" rel="nofollow">www.birdsoman.com</a>) has passed on a report from Swedish birder, Magnus Ullman, advising that exactly 100 birds were counted in the Jarziz flock, several weeks earlier on December 4th 2010. Sorry Daniel this trumps your 90 as the new Oman record! And – perhaps most exciting of all - is news just in from Nils Abrahamson confirming that 16 Sociable Lapwings were still present last week, on February 11th 2011. Thanks to all contributors. Remember you can follow this evolving story on <a href="http://www.birdlife.org/sociable-lapwing" rel="nofollow">The Amazing Journey</a> website or sign up for <a href="http://www.birdlife.org/sociable-lapwing/get-email-alerts/" rel="nofollow">email alerts</a> which will advise you automatically whenever we post further news about the Sociable Lapwings’ migration and conservation. Regards Jim Lawrence

I recorded 40 Sociable Lapwing on the green circular field at Jarziz Farm on 3 January 2012. A count of 40 was also made by another group of birders the same day, I later learnt.

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