Record flock of Sociable Lapwings discovered in Oman.

Exciting news has just reached us that a country record flock of 90+ Sociable Lapwings was present at Salalah in Oman on December 25th, 2010.

The record was submitted to the Amazing Journey team by Spanish birder Daniel Lopez Velasco who was on a birding trip to Oman with friends when they encountered the birds. You can see Daniel’s excellent images of part of the flock in this post and watch his short video of one of the birds feeding here.

“Having spent a couple of days searching for the BIG flock of Sociable Lapwings in south-eastern Turkey two Novembers ago without luck, I was very pleased to see this one!” reports Daniel. “We spent a couple of days birding Jarziz Farms, where the lapwings were located on the grassy, green, circular fields to the north west of the farm. They appeared fairly settled and were mainly feeding or roosting. During both our visits no one disturbed the birds which was good news!”

Record Sociable Lapwing flock, Salalah, Oman December 2010.

Oman is one of the best watched countries on the Arabian peninsula and there have been 105 previous records of single birds or small flocks of Sociable Lapwings occurring there between 1974 and 2010. Nearly all of these have been from three farms with large, irrigated fields. This latest flock of more than 90 individuals is the largest ever recorded – 48 were found present at Sahnout Farm, Salalah on 9th January 2010 and 29 at Jarziz Farm on 22nd January 2010. There is also a record of 24 at Jarziz Farm on 30th November 2008.

Although it is not possible to separate the apparent increase in records from greater observer effort and coverage, there does seem to be an increase in numbers since 2001. This corresponds with the encouraging population recovery now being experienced in Kazakhstan and is mirrored in the increasing number of winter records from India too.

Historical records show that Oman has always been a wintering area for small numbers of Sociable Lapwings. The possibility of it just being a stopover site for birds then moving on to north-east Africa via Yemen is possible though unlikely (only three Yemen records) and it is probable birds stay there until the end of February at least.

As a result of this record being reported local observers will now make an attempt to see if any of this flock is still present in the area. If you, or anyone you know, has seen birds at the site this winter (and particularly since this record) we’d be very grateful for an update. Like Daniel you can submit records of any Sociable Lapwings you encounter using our online reporting form.

The increase in numbers in recent years suggests that the region is becoming increasingly important as a regular wintering area alongside East Sudan and India.

It is possible to keep abreast of recent bird records in Oman by visiting the Birds Oman website run by Jens & Hanne Erikson. If you are fans of stunning Sociable Lapwing pictures check out their incredible photograhs.

Related posts:

  1. Sociable Lapwings arrive in India
  2. Where have the Sociable Lapwings that were heading west got to?
  3. Adventurers arrive in The Gulf
  4. Have you seen a Sociable Lapwing recently?
  5. Important New Staging Site Discovered In Eastern Turkey

8 Responses

  1. Tobias Berger 16. Feb, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    On request I post this comment here as well: Actually, this flock was spotted already in the beginning of Nov by me and a friend at the Sahnawt/Sahnout Farm, Salalah. Back then, it was at least 60 Sociable plovers. In addition, seven more birds were spotted at the new Dawkah farms in the desert a few days later.

  2. jim 16. Feb, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Hi Tobias thanks for posting this response and for submitting an online record to The Amazing Journey team. This really helps us build up a clearer picture of these birds apparently now wintering in Oman. In addition to your report we have received several others since this story went live last Friday.

    We now know at least sixty Sociable Lapwings were present in the Salalah area from mid-November 2010. From Daniel’s original report we learned at least 90 were at Jarziz farm on December 25th 2010. Jens Erikson ( has passed on a report from Swedish birder, Magnus Ullman, advising that exactly 100 birds were counted in the Jarziz flock, several weeks earlier on December 4th 2010. Sorry Daniel this trumps your 90 as the new Oman record!

    And – perhaps most exciting of all – is news just in from Nils Abrahamson confirming that 16 Sociable Lapwings were still present last week, on February 11th 2011.

    Thanks to all contributors.

    Remember you can follow this evolving story on The Amazing Journey website or sign up for email alerts which will advise you automatically whenever we post further news about the Sociable Lapwings’ migration and conservation.


    Jim Lawrence

  3. Johannes Kamp 16. Feb, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Hi all,

    This is all great news. I just had a closer look at the recent Oman records:

    Although there are only four datapoints and thus all conclusions pure speculation, it seems that good numbers arrived in mid November (typical arrival time in Sudan and India as well), these then stayed for at least six weeks until end December (with probably more arriving – 100 birds present by 25.12.), but seem to have dispersed afterwards (with only 16 left at the site by mid February).

    This is a pattern of occurence in time exactly mirrored by what I got from the Sudanese records and also from India, so very strongly suggests that Oman is a (new?previously undiscovered?) wintering site.

    Exciting stuff – thanks everyone for their contributions.

    Johannes Kamp
    (RSPB International Research Section)

  4. Charlie Moores 17. Feb, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    These records are wonderful news, a great example of ‘citizen conservation’, and especially encouraging that the Lapwings appear to be roosting and feeding undisturbed.

    Having birded in similar ‘artificial’ and well-irrigated areas in the UAE it’s apparent that these sites provide plenty of food and water for migrants, and if they are genuinely safe havens too then farms and fields like these right across the region must be having a positive impact on the numbers of birds surviving migration. It’ll be very interesting to see if observations at this and other sites in the Middle East are repeated in coming years now that more people are aware that the birds might be there.

    ‘The Amazing Journey’ project is certainly proving its worth!


  5. Mumin Gokhan Senocak 18. Feb, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    This is Gokhan from Erzurum-Turkey. Im a member of Erzurum Tourism Envoies Association (shortcall: ERTUEL) I, Musa Han and Mikail Topdaş prepared a project for ERTUEL. Its about the birds which are living in Erzurum territories. The project which named “Bird Paradise Of The Anatolian Peak” is includes taking pictures and recording locations (with gps) of the all birds which are living in Erzurum territory. We will publish a book which is “Birds of Erzurum” We will educate people about birds, nature and will produce an inventory for birds which are living-migrating on/at Erzurum City. The government accepted the project and we will start next month. I think we’ll get also good records about Sociable Lapwings at the same time. I will share them all with you. (especially i will try to find breeding zones of the sociable lapwings at Erzurum plain). I’m a Volunteer of this project and happy to share the sounds from Erzurum with you.

    (Someone will be working for birds for nature for future in the wild, don’t forget us :) )

    Kind Regards

    Mumin Gokhan Senocak – Veterinary Surgeon – Volunteer For Birds n Nature

  6. Rob Sheldon 20. Feb, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    These records are excellent and are a great contribution to helping us understand the migration routes and wintering grounds of Sociable Lapwings. The more we understand, the greater our ability to reverse the population declines witnessed in such species.
    As Johannes mentions above, Oman is a country where we have had lots of records over the years, but these reports of such numbers does suggest that Oman maybe a more important wintering site than previously thought. We will look at ways of getting more survey work undertaken in this country next year.
    Thanks for your support, and keep that information flowing!

    Rob Sheldon (Project Leader for the Darwin funded Sociable Lapwing project – RSPB)

  7. Sophie Ridges 22. May, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Rob Sheldon – good to see your report about Sociable Lapwings – I am very interested in these beautiful birds and would enjoy becoming involved in some way. I remember you from the duck carving course which you attended when my husband Bob Ridges was teaching. Some years ago now! With my best wishes, Sophie Ridges


  1. Winter update and request for recent sightings | The Amazing Journey - 02. Mar, 2012

    [...] year we were delighted to report that a record flock of more than 90 birds had been found wintering in Oman. Regular sightings of wintering birds have been made in the country again recently, though not in [...]

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