Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

  • 35cm
  • Light brown wings and back
  • Black head and chest and front part of neck
  • White patch runs between belly and tail, flanking the neck to the sides of crown
  • Short tail is tipped black
  • A red fleshy wattle in front of each eye
  • Black-tipped red bill
  • Long yellow legs
  • In flight, prominent white V-shaped wing bar

Iraq, south-western Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir, Nepal.


Four subspecies are recognized:
  1. V.i. aigneri - southeast Turkey to Pakistan
  2. V.i. indicus - east Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh
  3. V.i. lankae - Sri Lanka
  4. V.i. atronuchalis - northeast India and Myanmar to northern Malaysia and Indochina

Open country and forest clearings, freshwater wetlands. Dry fields, bush country, near swamps, rivers and coasts.


The breeding season is mainly March to August. The courtship involves the male puffing its feathers and pointing its beak upwards. The male then shuffles around the female. Several males may display to females and they may be close together. The eggs are laid in a ground scrape or depression sometimes fringed with pebbles, goat or hare droppings. About 3–4 black-blotched buff eggs shaped a bit like a peg-top (pyriform), 42x30 mm on average. Nests are difficult to find since the eggs are cryptically coloured and usually matches the ground pattern. In residential areas, they sometimes take to nesting on roof-tops. They have been recorded nesting on the stones between the rails of a railway track, the adult leaving the nest when trains passed. Nests that have been threatened by agricultural operations have been manually translocated by gradually shifting the eggs. When nesting they will attempt to dive bomb or distract potential predators. Both the male and female incubate the eggs and divert predators using distraction displays or flash their wings to deter any herbivores that threaten the nest. Males appear to relieve the females incubating at the nest particularly towards the hot part of noon. The eggs hatch in 28 to 30 days.


Male - Knuckles Mountain Range, Matale, Sri Lanka

Female - Knuckles Mountain Range, Matale, Sri Lanka

Male and Female - Knuckles Mountain Range, Matale, Sri Lanka

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