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Sociable Lapwing, Vanellus gregarius   kommer
Synonyms Chettusia gregaria Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994), Collar and Andrew (1988)
AKA Sociable Plover
In: Sociable Lapwing Ca: Fredeluga gregària Da: Steppevibe De: Steppenkiebitz Es: Avefría sociable Fi: arohyyppä Fr: Vanneau sociable
It: Pavoncella gregaria Nl: Steppenkievit No: Steppevipe Pt: Abibe-sociável Sv: Stäppvipa US: Sociable Lapwing

Foreign names: http://www.birdguides.com

September 2010
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Image courtesy of Maxim Koshkin

Red List Category & Criteria: CR A3bc ver 3.1 (2001)
Year Assessed: 2006, Assessor/s: BirdLife International
Evaluator/s: Butchart, S. & Pilgrim, J. (BirdLife International Red List Authority)
Justification: This species is listed as Critically Endangered because its very small population has undergone
an very rapid reduction for poorly understood reasons, and this decline is projected to continue
and increase in the future.
Recent fieldwork in Kazakhstan (and counts in Turkey and the Middle East) has shown the population to be
substantially larger than previously feared, and further research may show that the species warrants
downlisting to a lower category of threat.

History: 1988 - Threatened (Collar and Andrew 1988)
1994 - Vulnerable (Collar, Crosby and Stattersfield 1994)
2000 - Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2000)
2004 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2004)

2006 – Critically Endangered
2008 – Critically Endangered
2009 – Critically Endangered

BirdLife International 2006. Vanellus gregarius. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 13 April 2008. Updated 9 September 2010

This photo was taken on the steppe south of Astana.
© Alastair Rae
Identification 27-30 cm. Large, 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.

Population estimate 600 - 1,800 (2.500-3.000 Rare Birds Yearbook 2008)
Range estimate (breeding/resident) 1,927,000 km2

The Sociable Lapwing, Vanellus gregarius, breeds in Russia and Kazakhstan, dispersing through
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
Syria and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Israel, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India.
Birds winter occasionally in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman.

Image courtesy of Maxim Koshkin
It has suffered a very rapid decline and range contraction.
In northern Kazakhstan, a decline of 40% between 1930-1960, was followed by a further halving of numbers between 1960-1987. These declines have continued, or even accelerated,
to the point that the current population is estimated to be only 600-1,800 individuals.

It has a sporadic and irruptive pattern of semi-colonial breeding, mainly in the transition zones
between Stipa and Artemisia grassland steppes where bare saline areas occur near water-bodies.

Image courtesy of Maxim Koshkin
Exact breeding habitat requirements are poorly known. It has recently been postulated that it evolved
to nest in the short swards left in the wake of enormous wintering herds of saiga Saiga tartarica.
The wintering grounds are dry plains, sandy wastes and short grass areas, often adjacent to water.

Threats Key factors explaining the magnitude of recent declines remain unknown.
On the breeding grounds, it is threatened by the conversion of steppe to arable cultivation,
but large areas of apparently suitable breeding habitat are unoccupied.

The species habitat may however have been altered by a 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.

Image courtesy of Maxim Koshkin
Breeding may now only occur in vicinity of villages which exposes birds to additional threats,
such as predation by dogs and cats, and human disturbance.
Many colonies are destroyed during agricultural operations or are predated by
Rook Corvus frugilegus, which have increased considerably in breeding regions.
Nests in grazed areas may suffer from trampling. It may also have been adversely affected by the increasingly dry climate in its breeding and wintering range.

Source: http://www.birdlife.org

Huge Flock Of Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwings Discovered
ScienceDaily (Oct. 23, 2007) —
Hopes are rising for one of the world’s rarest birds after the discovery of the largest flock seen for more than 100 years.

More than 3,000 critically endangered sociable lapwings have been found in the Ceylanpinar district of south-eastern
Turkey after a satellite tag was fitted to one of the birds migrating from breeding grounds in Kazakhstan.

The tracked lapwing had flown more than 2,000 miles from its nesting site, where numbers of the species have plunged
following the collapse of Soviet farming. The bird flew north of the Caspian Sea, then down through the Caucasus
and south into Turkey.

Only 200 pairs of sociable lapwing were thought to remain in 2003 when the bird was classified as critically endangered,
the highest level of threat there is.



over 250


over 500


over 225
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