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White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
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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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds 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)
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.

Chettusia leucura Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994)

Trend justification
The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory in central Asia although there are some sedentary populations in the Middle East (del Hoyo, et al. 1996) (parts of Iraq and Iran) (Hayman, et al. 1986). Migratory populations breed in Russia between mid-April to May and depart on a broad front for winter quarters in north-east Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and northern India (Hayman, et al. 1986) between mid-July and September (del Hoyo, et al. 1996), (although individuals occasionally winter in Russia), returning to breeding grounds during March and April (Hayman, et al. 1986). This species often breeds in loose colonies of between 4 and 24 pairs (Hayman, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996), sometimes up to as many as 100 pairs (Iraq) (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season this species occurs singly, in pairs or small groups (Urban, et al. 1986), with small migratory flocks of between 1-6 individuals and wintering flocks of 6-25 individuals (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). This species is diurnal (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Habitat The species shows a preference for habitats in the vicinity of shallow standing or slow-flowing water with suitable smooth beds permitting unhampered walking and wading (Cramp and Simmons 1983, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Breeding In Russia this species breeds in damp, vegetated areas near salt or fresh water, and on small vegetated islets or swampy shores of brackish lakes (Cramp and Simmons 1983, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the winter this species prefers rivers, drainage ditches, ponds, jheels (India), coastal lagoons, marshes (Cramp and Simmons 1983, Urban, et al. 1986) and flooded or recently dried out grassland (Cramp and Simmons 1983). It also occurs on salt-shrub terrain with low, sparse vegetation, on shallow seepage pools by canals and reservoirs, and on irrigated rice fields (Cramp and Simmons 1983). During this season the species also occurs on dry ground near water such as river banks and lake shores (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996), but avoids dry, open country (Urban, et al. 1986) although it has been known to roost on dry ploughed fields (Pakistan) (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). The species has also been recorded feeding in a stream of sewage effluent in Sudan (Urban, et al. 1986). Diet The species is omnivorous, its diet consisting mainly of insects (especially beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, fly larvae (del Hoyo, et al. 1996) and locusts (Johnsgard 1981)), but also worms, molluscs and crustaceans (including freshwater shrimps) (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Breeding site The nests of this species are shallow scrapes in the open, usually near water (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Few observations of nesting sites are available, but one was found on an irrigated but uncultivated field covered with grass, another was observed on a dry ridge near a marsh (Johnsgard 1981).

The loss of wetland habitats in Mesopotamia owing to drainage, and wetland destruction in Iraq (two of the core breeding and wintering areas) poses a threat to this species (Stroud, et al. 2005).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Cramp, S.; Simmons, K. E. L. 1983. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic vol. III: waders to gulls. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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.

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

Stroud, D. A.; Davidson, N. C.; West, R.; Scott, D. A.; Haanstra, L.; Thorup, O.; Ganter, B.; Delany, S. 2004. Status of migratory wader populations in African and Western Eurasia in the 1990s. International Wader Studies 15: 1-259.

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

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Vanellus leucurus. 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 - White-tailed lapwing (Vanellus leucurus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Population size 13000-87000 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,800,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment