[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Vanellus leucurus | [UK] White-Tailed Lapwing | [FR] Vanneau à queue blanche | [DE] Weißschwanzkiebitz | [ES] Avefría Coliblanca | [IT] Pavoncella codabianca | [NL] Witstaartkievit

Witstaartkievit determination

copyright: Eric Roualet

Graceful, slim, long-legged lapwing, with pale, whitish face and all white tail. Pinkish brown rest of head and back, grey breast, rosy-buff belly. Sexes alike. No seasonal variation. Juvenile has feathers of upperparts with dark centres and bright buff fringes. Neck and breast mottled brown-grey.

Lake shores and river valleys. Nearly always in vicinity of shallow standing or slow flowing water with suitable bed for wading. Also flooded or recently dried out marshy meadows and salt-shrub terrain. Breeds in damp, vegetated areas near salt or fresh water, also small vegetated islets and swampy shores of brackish lakes.

Vanellus leucurus has a predominantly Central Asian breeding distribution, which just extends into south-eastern Europe. Its European breeding population is extremely small (as few as 80 pairs), and though its trend between 1970-1990 was unknown, the species increased or was stable in most of its European range during 1990-2000, and underwent a moderate increase overall. Although the size of the European population could render it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, it is marginal to a much a larger non-European population.

Mainly insects, especially beetles and grasshoppers, but also caterpillars and fly larvae, also takes worms, molluscs and crustaceans, including freshwater shrimps. Usually feeds on dry land, but also by foot-dabbling in shallow water, and sometimes catches prey by probing in soft mud. Diurnal.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 100,000-1,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 20,000-130,000 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]

April-May. Monogamous. Often in loose colonies, sometimes of several hundred pairs, frequently together with other colonial breeders, opten pratincoles, Black-winged Stilts and terns. Occasionally solitary. Nest is shallow scrape with sparse lining of plant material, in the open, usually near water. Clutch 4 eggs, incubation 21-25 days. Chick has upperparts greyish buff with black streaks, rusty-red ring around eye, underparts buffy white. Tended by both parents. First breeding 1-2 years.

Migratory in FSU and apparently partially migratory in Middle East. Western migrants winter north-east Africa, eastern birds in northern Indian subcontinent. Leaves breeding grounds chiefly September, returning in April.