Sociable Lapwing   Vanellus gregarious


  • Vanellus : Latin word for fan like wings  derived from vannus –winnowing fan
  • Gregarious : Latin word for Sociable derived from  gregis – flock

Distribution in India: Winter visitor to North and North West of India.

Description: Size of 27–30 cm; wt. of 150–260 g; wingspan of 64–76 cm. It is an olive-brown lapwing with bold, white supercilia meeting on forehead and nape. It has black crown and lores, thin dark line behind eye, the belly is black and chestnut and legs are blackish.  In flight shows brown inner wing-coverts and body plumage, black primaries, white secondaries, and mainly white rump and tail, with black subterminal band restricted to central rectrices. The female is less intensely coloured than male, especially on belly and crown. The non-breeding adult has buff wash to supercilia and pale belly. The juvenile is similar to non-breeding adult, but has clear buff fringes and dark terminal lines to feathers of upperparts; breast is heavily streaked dark brown. The first-summer shows partial underparts pattern of adult.

Habitat:It is found in  breeding time mainly on transition zones in steppes, typically in areas with tall but relatively sparse vegetation cover to almost bare soil with only sparse, short grasses or Artemisia plants, dry wasteland, cultivated, ploughed and stubble fields. During migration it is found on sandy plains with short grass, dry meadows, fallow land and cultivated fields. On wintering grounds, prefers burnt steppe and savanna, uncultivated wasteland, dump pastures and harvested millet fields. It is found from sea level up to 2800 m.

Food habits: It eats insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, crickets and moth larvae; spiders; small amounts of plant material like grains, leaves and flowers. It is diurnal. The foraging behavior like that of other lapwings, making short runs, then stops and reaches to ground to take prey.

Breeding habits: They breed in Apr to Jun. They are monogamous. Before start of breeding season, parties of 5–10 birds land on open field for display fights of males in front of females.  They are semi-colonial. They breed alongside other shorebird species, e.g. Collared Pratincole. They nest on bare saline patches or in short vegetation, near water; heavily grazed areas. The nest is a scrape (on ground, unlined or lined with some plant material, pebbles and debris, but amount of lining material accumulates during incubation. They lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs. They are single brooded, but replacement brood is laid after egg loss. The incubation period is 28–29 days. The incubation is done mainly by female. The fledging period is 35–40 days. Corvids, especially Rooks are major predators of eggs.