Vanellus vanellus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Vanellus vanellus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Lapwing, Lapwing
French Vanneau huppé

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Stroud, D., Chan, S., Trolliet, B. & Mischenko, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M., Malpas, L.
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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.

Geographic Range [top]

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam
Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Bermuda; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Cape Verde; Dominica; Gambia; Greenland; Guadeloupe; Kenya; Martinique; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Senegal; Sudan; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Tajikistan; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States (Georgia - Native); Yemen
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.5,200,000-10,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: < c.10,000 individuals on migration and > c.10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
For further information about this species, see 22693949_vanellus_vanellus.pdf.
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Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour Most populations of this species are fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998) and travel on a broad front out of Europe (Snow and Perrins 1998) although some breeding populations in more temperate regions are sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds from April to July (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) although pairs may also nest close together (Johnsgard 1981), even semi-colonially (Trolliet 2003), in optimal habitat (Johnsgard 1981). The species may roost communally at night during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons (Urban et al. 1986) and after breeding the species gathers in large flocks for migration (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and remains highly gregarious during the winter (Urban et al. 1986, Snow and Perrins 1998) in flocks of several thousand (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding The species shows a preference for breeding on wet natural grasslands (Trolliet 2003), meadows and hay meadows (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with short swards (Hayman et al. 1986, Devereux et al. 2004) and patches of bare soil (Johnsgard 1981) at low altitudes (Hayman et al. 1986) (less than 1,000 m) (Snow and Perrins 1998). It will also breed on grassy moors, swampy heaths (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996), bogs (Johnsgard 1981) and arable fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non- breeding During the winter the species utilises large open pastures for roosting (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and forages on damp grassland, irrigated land (Urban et al. 1986), stubble and ploughed fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996), riverbanks, lake shores, fresh and saline marshes, drainage ditches, estuaries and mudflats (Africa) (Urban et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists of adult and larval insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. beetles, ants, Diptera, crickets (del Hoyo et al. 1996), grasshoppers, dragonflies, mayflies, cicadas and Lepidoptera) (Urban et al. 1986), spiders, snails (del Hoyo et al. 1996), earthworms (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), frogs, small fish (Africa) (Urban et al. 1986) and seeds or other plant material (Africa) (Urban et al. 1986). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape in short grass vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information Short swards are the most profitable foraging habitat for the species (Devereux et al. 2004) so the application of cattle-grazing (Olsen and Schmidt 2004), preferably intensively (e.g. > 1 cow per hectare), may be successful in increasing abundances of the species on grasslands. On coastal grazing saltmarsh however it may be desirable to exclude cattle from selected areas in the spring where the rate of grass growth is slow (Hart et al. 2002). In the UK it has been found that a mosaic of unflooded grassland, winter-flooded grassland and shallow pools may provide optimal conditions for this species to breed (Ausden et al. 2001). It has also been found that shallow pools on coastal grazing marshes should be maintained until the end of June, as the aquatic invertebrates contained within them can be an important part of this species's diet (Ausden et al. 2003). Another UK study found that the species shows a preference for feeding in rills (relict saltmarsh drainage channels) in coastal grazing marshes, especially those with many branches (Milsom et al. 2002). It is possible to attract breeding pairs just by flooding rills during April and May to create water-margin habitats for feeding, rather than extensively flooding the land (i.e. marshes can therefore be managed to encourage lapwing breeding without preventing the grazing of cattle) (Milsom et al. 2002). At Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland the species showed a preference for nesting in the spring on open areas created by cutting rush beds in mid-winter (Robson and Allcorn 2006). It is also known to show increased hatching successes when ground predators have been excluded by erecting protective cages or fences around individual nests or nesting areas (Jackson 2001, Isaksson et al. 2007). The number of breeding pairs on improved grassland was successfully increased on a reserve in Wales by the implementation of a two-year rotation of chisel ploughing, as well as a seasonal sheep and cattle grazing regime and a controlled increase in the water-level (Squires and Allcorn 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species suffered past declines as a result of land-use intensification, wetland drainage and egg collecting (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Today it is threatened by reduced breeding productivity as a result of intensifying and changing agricultural practices (del Hoyo et al. 1996), especially the improvement of grasslands (e.g. by drainage, inorganic fertilising and reseeding) (Baldi et al. 2005). Important migratory stop-over habitats for this species on the Baltic Sea coastline are threatened by petroleum pollution, wetland drainage for irrigation, land abandonment and changing land management practices leading to scrub overgrowth (Grishanov 2006). Clutch destruction may also occur during spring cultivation (using machinery) on arable fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is susceptible to avian botulism so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease (Hubalek et al. 2005), and may suffer from nest predation by introduced mammals (e.g. European hedgehog Erinaceus europeaus) on some islands (Jackson 2001). Utilisation The species is hunted for commercial use (to be sold as food) and for recreational purposes in Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006), and is hunted in France, Greece, Italy and Spain (Trolliet 2003).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Vanellus vanellus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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