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Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus
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)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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.

Hoplopterus spinosus AERC TAC (2003), Hoplopterus spinosus Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994)

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 African breeding populations are largely sedentary (Hayman et al. 1986) but may make irregular local movements (e.g. to drier areas during the rains) although it does not appear to be very sensitive to seasonal changes in water-level (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeders in the eastern Mediterranean region are fully migratory however and disperse south to Africa for the winter (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests from March to September in West Africa and in the eastern Mediterranean region (Hayman et al. 1986), the timing of breeding varying geographically elsewhere (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It nests in solitary pairs or loose colonies and outside of the breeding season flocks of up to 15 (occasionally up to 200) individuals may occur (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species frequents dry ground (del Hoyo et al. 1996) close to fresh or saline (Hayman et al. 1986)pools, lakes, rivers, lagoons (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or marshes (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) as well as burnt grassland, cultivated, flooded or irrigated fields (Hayman et al. 1986) (e.g. rice-paddies) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), saltflats by alkaline lakes (Urban et al. 1986), mudflats, sandflats, beaches, dunes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and coastal saltpans (Hayman et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of adult and larval insects (e.g. beetles, grasshoppers, Diptera, midges, termites and ants) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) as well as spiders (del Hoyo et al. 1996), centipedes, millipedes (Urban et al. 1986) and occasionally crustaceans, molluscs, small lizards, tadpoles, adult frogs, fish and seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is placed in a shallow natural depressions in rock (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or is a shallow scrape on dry bare ground (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or on mudflats (Urban et al. 1986).

The species has suffered from past declines as a result of the loss of natural and semi-natural saltmarsh habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation The species is locally exposed to hunting pressures (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and 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.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Urban, E.K., Fry, C.H. and Keith, S. 1986. The Birds of Africa, Volume II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Malpas, L.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vanellus spinosus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - Spur-winged lapwing (Vanellus spinosus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,170,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change
- 2015 European Red List assessment