[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Hoplopterus spinosus | [UK] Spur-Winged Lapwing | [FR] Vanneau éperonné | [DE] Spornkiebitz | [ES] Avefría espolonoda | [IT] Pavoncella armata | [NL] Sporenkievit

Sporenkievit determination

copyright: B. Demirci

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are medium-large waders with black crown, chest, foreneck stripe and tail. The face, the rest of the neck and belly are white and the wings and back are light brown. The bill and legs are black. Its striking appearance is supplemented by its noisy nature, with a loud did-he-do-it call.

The species frequents dry ground close to fresh or saline pools, lakes, rivers, lagoons or marshes as well as burnt grassland, cultivated, flooded or irrigated fields (e.g. rice-paddies), saltflats by alkaline lakes, mudflats, sandflats, beaches, dunes and coastal saltpans.

Vanellus spinosus has a predominantly African distribution, but is also a summer visitor to parts of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. Its European breeding population is very small (as few as 1,000 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although the small populations in Cyprus and Greece were stable during 1990-2000, the species declined in its Turkish stronghold, and underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall. As a consequence of this continuing decline and its small population, the species is evaluated as Vulnerable.

Its diet consists predominantly of adult and larval insects (e.g. beetles, grasshoppers, Diptera, midges, termites and ants) as well as spiders, centipedes, millipedes and occasionally crustaceans, molluscs, small lizards, tadpoles, adult frogs, fish and seeds.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 130,000-800,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

In tropical Africa, laying dates usually locally restricted, but great geographical variation. In Israel April-July, Greece late April-May. Monogamous. Nests solitarily or in loose colonies. Territory aggressively defended against most other bird species, especially waders. Territory sometimes occupied year round. Nest on bare, dry ground, usually a shallow scrape, unlined or lined with grass or other plant material and debris, or with a rim of earth, small shells or stones. 2-4 eggs, often lays second clutch, and sometimes third, incubation by female while male tends chicks of first clutch. Chick cinnamon buff above, mottled grey and streaked black,with cheeks buff and hindneck white, lacks hind toe. The young fledgeafter 7-8 weeks.

African breeding populations are largely sedentary but may make irregular local movements (e.g. to drier areas during the rains) although it does not appear to be very sensitive to seasonal changes in water-level. Breeders in the eastern Mediterranean region are fully migratory however and disperse south to Africa for the winter. The species nests from March to September in West Africa and in the eastern Mediterranean region, the timing of breeding varying geographically elsewhere. It nests in solitary pairs or loose colonies and outside of the breeding season flocks of up to 15 (occasionally up to 200) individuals may occur.