Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

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Europe
Arkive species - Sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) * To See the original image, please click the image
Shared by : Arushi Madan (UK)
Region : Russian and Kazakhstan
Status : CR (Critically Endangered)
Introduction
The sociable lapwing or sociable plover (Vanellus gregarius) is a critically endangered wader in the lapwing family of birds. The genus name is Medieval Latin for a lapwing and derives from vannus a winnowing fan. The specific gregarius is Latin for "sociable" from grex, gregis, "flock". The lapwing is a familiar medium-large wading bird whose distinctive call gives its alternative name of Peewit. It is a regular sight throughout the year. Some lapwings are migratory - they breed in Britain and then fly to southwest Europe for the winter, or breed in Northern Europe and come to Britain for the winter months. Other lapwings are permanent British residents, living here all year round. The lapwing mainly eats invertebrates including flightless insects such as leatherjackets and wireworms, as well as earthworms, spiders, snails and fresh water molluscs. When feeding, it systematically scans the ground, listening, and then snatches the food with its bill. It is migratory. It breeds semi-colonially in small groups of 3-20 pairs from mid-April until July, and begins the migration south in August or September. Flocks of several thousand birds gather before migration in Siberia and Kazakhstan, but migration itself usually occurs in small groups of 15-20 birds. Although present in the UK all year round, lapwings become more obvious in autumn and winter when they form large flocks. These flocks frequently take to the air - their slow wing-beats making the flock appear to flicker black and white. If one hears a "peewit" call, it’s a sign that there is a lapwing nearby. Appearance and Vital Statistics: It is boldly patterned in black and white with a black wispy crest on the crown of its head. The feathers on its upper body are tinged with iridescent green. It is identifiable with it’s slow distinctive flight its rounded wings making lazy wing beats. This medium-sized lapwing has longish black legs and a short black bill.

• Length: 27 cm (11 in). Weight: 250gm. The call is a harsh kereck.
• Life span: 9 years
• Habitat/Territory: Being a wader, Lapwing is normally seen near water and wetlands, it prefers open habitats that contain plenty of water, like marshes, mud flats, sewage farms, flooded land, and ploughed fields near water. It is one of several species that has been adversely affected by the draining of wet grassland.
• Geographical distribution Native: Afghanistan Armenia (Armenia) Azerbaijan Georgia India Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Israel Jordan Kazakhstan Lebanon Oman Pakistan Palestinian Territory, Occupied Qatar Russian Federation Saudi Arabia Sri Lanka Sudan Syrian Arab Republic Tajikistan Turkey Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Possibly extinct: Cameroon Central African Republic Chad Eritrea Ethiopia Kyrgyzstan.
• Vagrant: Austria Bahrain Belarus Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Egypt Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Kuwait Luxembourg Maldives Malta Morocco Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Seychelles Slovakia Slovenia Somalia Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom Yemen
Causes/ Threats
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because its population has undergone a very rapid reduction, for the following reasons:
Hunting along the migration routes and wintering grounds: Illegal hunting during migration and on the wintering grounds may be the primary threat.
Changes in agricultural practice: Farmers have drained much of the damp grassland and the wide margins of lakes and rivers have disappeared due to dredging to alleviate flooding. Wetland habitats in Britain have been consistently disappearing since the end of World War II and many of such wading birds are becoming scarce as their feeding grounds become dry land.
Low egg survival due to nesting in areas of high grazer density: Concentration of nests in heavily grazed areas near villages may have increased threats from human disturbance and trampling by sheep, goats and possibly other livestock. Increasingly dry climate in its breeding and wintering range. Agricultural expansion and intensification, overgrazing and loss of steppe habitats all pose threats to stopover sites used by the species.
Conservation/Restoration Efforts:
Conservation Actions
An international species action plan was published in 2004. An AEWA International Single Species Action Plan was adopted by the AEWA Meeting of the Parties in May 2012. It is legally protected in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, but this is generally not enforced. An intensive research project at the breeding sites in central Kazakhstan began in 2004, securing funding until 2009. In 2005 the Sociable Lapwing research project was initiated in Kazakhstan by a team from the RSPB and the Association for the Biodiversity Protection in Kazakhstan (ACBK) in order to understand the causes of the species's decline. In 2006 the team secured funding through the UK Government's Darwin Initiative programme that allowed work to continue until 2009. A project was initiated in Turkey in 2008 to gain a better understanding of stopover sites used by the species during migration. Survey work in India was undertaken in 2012-2013 and a local language leaflet was distributed to raise awareness of the species. Further surveys have recently been conducted in Sudan, Turkey, Iraq, Russia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Fields surveys were conducted in Turkey in 2014/2015 and in Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia in 2015/2016. Surveys were planned for February 2016 in Pakistan. A satellite-tagging project in central Kazakhstan aims to provide information on the species’s migration. Ongoing research in Kazakhstan on breeding biology, habitat requirements and migration, including colour-ringing and satellite tracking to determine movements.

Sources :
http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/animal-facts/lapwing
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22694053/0
earthsendangered.com
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlist/downloads/European_birds.pdf
https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/conservation-projects/details/198262-ecology-and-conservation-of-the-sociable-lapwing
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/22694053
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sociable-lapwing-vanellus-gregarius/text

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