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Black-winged Lapwing Vanellus melanopterus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a very 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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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 overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is an intra-African migrant; moving to lower altitudes (e.g. 1,500-2,000 m lower) for the winter in East Africa and South Africa, but remaining sedentary in Ethiopia (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). It breeds between April and July in Ethiopia, between July and October in South Africa, and in all months of the year in Kenya and Tanzania (generally depending on the rains, although avoiding the wettest periods) (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). During the breeding season the species is found in solitary pairs or small, loose colonies, but during the non-breeding season it gathers in flocks of up to 50 individuals, occasionally thousands, and possibly up to 10,000 prior to migration (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). This species is chiefly diurnal, but migrates at night as well as by day (Urban, et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding This species breeds in short-sward grassland on highland plateau and mountain slopes, and at lower elevations on open plains, dry savanna (especially in areas with large wild or domestic ungulates and game animals), and burnt fields with newly grown grass (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Non-breeding In winter the species is found mainly at lower altitudes, where it occurs on wastelands, cultivated and fallow fields, meadows, airfields, coastal flats (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996) and golf-courses (Hockey, et al. 2005). Diet This species is carnivorous, its diet consisting of molluscs, earthworms, adult and larval insects (such as beetles and flies), and occasionally small fish (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Breeding site Its nest is a scrape in recently burnt short-sward grassland or on bare or newly ploughed land (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996).

This species is threatened by habitat loss in South Africa as a result of commercial afforestation (Allan, et al. 1997, Hockey, et al. 2005).

Allan, D. G.; Harrison, J. A.; Navarro, R. A.; van Wilgen, B. W.; Thompson, M. W. 1997. The impact of commercial afforestation on bird populations in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa - insights from bird-atlas data. Biological Conservation 79: 173-185.

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.

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.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. 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
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vanellus melanopterus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Cretzschmar, 1829)
Population size 8700-42000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 839,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change