Vanellus gregarius 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Charadriidae

Scientific Name: Vanellus gregarius (Pallas, 1771)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Sociable Lapwing, Sociable Plover
French Vanneau sociable
Chettusia gregaria ssp. gregaria (Pallas, 1771) — Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994)
Chettusia gregaria ssp. gregaria (Pallas, 1771) — Collar and Andrew (1988)
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Identification information: 27-30 cm. Strikingly patterned plover. Adult greyish with black and chestnut belly. White supercilium and black crown and eye-stripe. Winter adult brownish but retains supercilium and crown pattern. Juvenile brown, slightly scalloped above, and streaked black below with large white supercilium. Similar spp. White-tailed Lapwing V. leucurus lacks supercilium and crown patch, has longer legs and no black subterminal tail-band. Voice Harsh kretsch kretsch and a rapid chattering.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd; C1+2a(i,ii); D (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Critically Endangered (CR)
EU27 regional assessment: Not Applicable (NA)

This species has undergone an extremely rapid population decline in Europe and the remaining population is extremely small. It therefore qualifies as Critically Endangered (A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd; C1+2a(i,ii); D). It does not breed in the EU27.

The bird is considered vagrant in the EU27 and is assessed as Not Applicable (NA) for this region.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species breeds south-central Russia, dispersing through Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (Wiersma et al. 2015). Russia and Turkey hold key stop-over sites such as the Manych lowlands (Russia), Muş Plain (Turkey) and Ceylanpınar Important Bird Area (Turkey) (Sheldon et al. 2012).
Countries occurrence:
Armenia; Azerbaijan; Georgia; Russian Federation (European Russia); Turkey
Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:132000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):300
Range Map:22694053-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 0-10 pairs, which equates to 0-20 mature individuals. The species does not occur in the EU27. For details of national estimates, see the supplementary material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by 80% or more in 27 years (three generations) and by 25% or more in 9 years (one generation). For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22694053_vanellus_gregarius.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:0-20,4Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species breeds mainly in the transition zones of Stipa and Artemisia grassland steppes and on dry wasteland, cultivated, ploughed and stubble fields. During migration, it is found mainly on sandy plains with short grass, dry meadows, fallow land and cultivated fields. Breeding begins from mid-April until July in semi-colonial groups of 3–20 pairs. The nest consists of a scrape that can be unlined or lined with plant material, pebbles and debris in which a clutch of two to five eggs are laid (Wiersma et al. 2015). It feeds mainly on insects and moth larvae as well as arachnids and frequently small amounts of plant matter including grains, leaves and flowers (Wiersma et al. 2015). Migration begins August to September usually in small flocks of 15–20 birds. It disperses south through Asia and Africa with a small number wintering in south-west Iberia (Wiersma et al. 2015).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):9
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Key factors explaining the magnitude of declines remain poorly understood, despite much recent research. On the breeding grounds it was probably formerly threatened by the conversion of steppe to arable cultivation, plus, perhaps less likely, the reduction in grazing by large herds of native ungulates and latterly by the loss of the enormous herds of domestic grazing animals from state-sponsored collective farms (Eichhorn and Khrokov 2002, Watson et al. 2006). However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, large areas of arable cultivation have been abandoned and are reverting to natural steppe habitat, herds of domestic livestock have become concentrated around villages (where their permanent presence leads to shorter swards than were created by the vast herds that grazed semi-nomadically under the Soviet system), while an increase in fires (owing to reduced control of fires) may also have contributed to an increase in suitable habitat. In parts of Kazakhstan, these factors are thought to be behind the possible increase in numbers in recent years and this may be the case elsewhere too (Watson et al. 2006, M. A. Koshkin, J. Kamp and R. D. Sheldon in litt. 2007). Concentration of nests in heavily grazed areas in the vicinity of villages may have increased threats from human disturbance and trampling by sheep, goats and possibly other livestock (Watson et al. 2006, M. A. Koshkin, J. Kamp and R. D. Sheldon in litt. 2007). Low egg survival due to nesting in areas of high grazer density has been suggested as one of the causes for the species's decline (Watson et al. 2006). The species may be affected by the increasingly dry climate in its breeding and wintering range, but it is not clear if this benefits or threatens this semi-desert species (Watson et al. 2006). Illegal hunting during migration and on the wintering grounds may now be the primary threat (M. A. Koshkin, J. Kamp and R. D. Sheldon in litt. 2007, Biricik et al. 2008). Data from 2005–2012 suggest that low adult survival, perhaps resulting from known hunting pressure along the migration routes, appears to be the most critical demographic rate (Sheldon et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix I and II. An International Species Action Plan was published in 2004. It is legally protected in Armenia, Russia and Ukraine, but this is generally not enforced (Belik 2005). In Turkey the species is protected from hunting through national legislation by the Central Hunting Committee (MAK) who have put the species on the protected list (Sheldon et al. 2012). A survey of historical breeding sites in the South Urals was conducted in 2005 (Morozov and Kornev 2005) and another at passage sites in south-west Russia was carried out in 2006 (Field et al. 2006). Coordinated counts were undertaken at key passage/wintering sites in Syria and Turkey in March 2007 (Anon. 2007). A project was initiated in Turkey in 2008 to gain a better understanding of stopover sites used by the species in Turkey during migration (Biricik et al. 2008). The inaugural meeting of the International Sociable Lapwing Working Group was held in Palmyra, Syria in March 2011. The group agreed on conservation measures required by each country, and planned cross-border actions to protect the species across its extensive range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue research in Kazakhstan (and initiate in Russia) on breeding biology, habitat requirements and migration, including colour-ringing and satellite tracking to determine movements. Continue to monitor trends on breeding grounds and at key passage/winter sites. Identify and evaluate key threats on breeding, passage and wintering grounds. Investigate the importance of hunting on passage/wintering grounds. Review International Species Action Plan in the light of recent research on the breeding grounds and identification of key passage/wintering sites. Develop national species action plans, at least for Kazakhstan and key passage/wintering countries. At breeding colonies sensitive to trampling by sheep during nesting period, work with local shepherds to minimise disturbance. Control hunting on wintering/passage sites.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Vanellus gregarius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22694053A60074103. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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