This species – Vanellus gregarius – is listed as Critically Endangered because its population has undergone a very rapid reduction, for reasons that are poorly understood; this decline is projected to continue and increase in the future. Recent fieldwork in Kazakhstan (and counts in Turkey and the Middle East) has shown the population to be substantially larger than previously feared, and further research may show that the species warrants downlisting to a lower category of threat.
Species name author (Pallas, 1771)
Taxonomic source(s) AERC TAC (2003), Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994), Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993), Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Synonyms Chettusia gregaria Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994), Chettusia gregariaCollar and Andrew (1988)
Identification 27-30 cm. Strikingly patterned plover. Adult greyish with black and chestnut belly. White supercilium and black crown and eye-stripe. Winter adult brownish but retains supercilium and crown pattern. Juvenile brown, slightly scalloped above, and streaked black below with large white supercilium.
Similar species White-tailed Lapwing V. leucurus lacks supercilium and crown patch, has longer legs and no black subterminal tail-band.
Voice Harsh kretsch kretsch and a rapid chattering.