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River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened on the basis that it is expected to undergo a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations owing to human pressures on riverine ecosystems and the construction of dams.

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.

Distribution and population
Vanellus duvaucelii occurs in southern China, much of South-East Asia, and the northern Indian Subcontinent (Chandler 2009), including Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. This species generally occurs at low densities throughout most of its range (Li et al. 2009), and there are several threats that are thought to be driving at least regional or local declines, but the population is expected to go into overall decline as impacts intensify and become more widespread.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-25,000 individuals, roughly equating to 670-17,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The current population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the extent of threats to the species; however, it is expected to undergo a moderately rapid population decline overall during the next three generations, owing to the impacts of human pressures on riverine ecosystems and multiple dam construction projects.

It inhabits larger rivers and lakes (Chandler 2009), preferring wide, slow-moving rivers with sand or gravel bars and islands (Duckworth et al. 1998).

In southern Thailand, the species is threatened by the casual off-take of eggs and chicks, and potentially by future agricultural intensification in some areas (Wells 1999). It is also threatened by incidental disturbance caused by people, livestock and dogs, and is potentially seriously impacted by the multitude of hydroelectric dam projects completed, underway and planned on large rivers in its range, which threaten to alter flow regimes (Thewlis et al. 1998, Duckworth et al. 1998, F. Goes in litt. 2011). These include the recently-built hydroelectric dams on the Vietnamese section of the Sesan, and this population, along with that on the Sekong, is predicted to be lost in the next 10 years (F. Goes in litt. 2011). Populations in the upper Cambodian Mekong have so far been under relatively less pressure; however, they may be lost in the next 10-20 years owing to multiple hydroelectric dam projects and inadequate protection of their habitat against degradation, encroachment and disturbance (F. Goes in litt. 2011). The threats of disturbance and hunting, in Laos at least, are exacerbated by the tendency for both V. duvaucelii and human settlers to select the same rivers, although the numbers of the species and frequency of villages are inversely correlated, which appears to confirm that there are some negative impacts from human activities (Duckworth et al. 1998). Along the Sangu river in Bangladesh, which may harbour all or most of the country's population of V. duvaucelii, the species is subject to on-going hunting pressure, and there is no evidence of successful breeding along surveyed stretches, probably owing to the frequenting of sandbars by people, dogs and corvids (S. Mahood in litt. 2012).

Conservationa Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species, although some of its habitat is protected.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends throughout its range. Quantify the severity and impact of threats across its range. Carry out awareness-raising activities to alleviate human pressures on riverine ecosystems, and lobby against high-impact dam projects. Increase the area of suitable habitat that receives effective protection.

Chandler, R. 2009. Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere. Christopher Helm, London.

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

Duckworth, J. W.; Timmins, R. J.; Evans, T. D. 1998. The conservation status of the river lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii in Southern Laos. Biological Conservation 84: 215-222.

Li, Z.W.D, A. Bloem, S. Delany, G. Martakis & J.O. Quintero. 2009. Status of Waterbirds in Asia - Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1987-2007. Wetlands International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thewlis, R. M.; Timmins, R. J.; Evans, T. D.; Duckworth, J. W. 1998. The conservation status of birds in Laos.

Wells, D. R. 1999. Birds of the Thai-Malay peninsula, volume 1: non-passerines. Academic Press, London.

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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Taylor, J.

Duckworth, W., Goes, F., Mahood, S., Praveen, J. & Thewlis, R.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vanellus duvaucelii. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Lesson, 1826)
Population size 670-17000 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,550,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species