Spur-winged Lapwing (Hoplopterus spinosus)

Spur-winged Lapwing

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Hoplopterus spinosus | [UK] Spur-winged Lapwing | [FR] Vanneau a eperons | [DE] Spornkiebitz | [ES] Avefria espolonoda | [NL] Sporenkievit


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

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.

Listen to the sound of Spur-winged Lapwing

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/S/Spur-winged Lapwing.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 69 cm wingspan max.: 81 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 27 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 50 days fledging max.: 24 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Africa : East, Central, West, also Middle East


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.


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.

Feeding habits

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 an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Spur-winged Lapwing status Least Concern


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.

Distribution map

Spur-winged Lapwing distribution range map

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