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Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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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 increasing, 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.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Behaviour This species is partially migratory (Hockey et al. 2005) and undertakes local movements (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in relation to seasonal rainfall (Hockey et al. 2005) and flooding (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding usually peaks at the start of the local dry season but may occur in any month of the year (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in solitary (del Hoyo et al. 1996), well-dispersed pairs (Hayman et al. 1986) and usually forages singly or in pairs (Urban et al. 1986), although during the non-breeding season flocks of up to 100 individuals or more (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) congregate in good feeding areas (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat It inhabits dry (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), moist or marshy grasslands (Johnsgard 1981, Hockey et al. 2005), mudflats (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), saltflats and flood-plains (del Hoyo et al. 1996) around freshwater or saline (Hayman et al. 1986) lagoons, lakes, dams, water-holes, rivers, marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), swamps (Urban et al. 1986), saltpans and estuaries (Hockey et al. 2005). During the non-breeding season flocks may also congregate around sewage farms (Johnsgard 1981), and the species often travels c.1-2 km from water to forage (Hayman et al. 1986) on ploughed land, in fields amongst cattle (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or in arable fields of vegetables and lucerne (Urban et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists of molluscs, crustaceans, worms and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape or depression (del Hoyo et al. 1996) placed on bare ground or in short grass very close to water (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in solitary, territorial pairs with neighbouring nests spaced at least 400 m apart (Urban et al. 1986).

The species is susceptible to avian botulism so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease (van Heerden 1974).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

van Heerden, J. 1974. Botulism in the Orange Free State goldfields. Ostrich 45(3): 182-184.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vanellus armatus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Blacksmith lapwing (Vanellus armatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Burchell, 1822)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 5,660,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change