• Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Size: 76%

A Species Under Threat


The Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) is globally threatened, being recognised as Critically Endangered by IUCN. It is listed in Column A of the action plan under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and in Annex I of the Bonn Convention.

The Sociable Lapwing is a migratory species. It breeds in the central steppes of Kazakhstan with small numbers in Russia. The majority of the population migrates through south-west Russia, into Turkey and through a number of countries in the Middle East, before spending the winter in north-east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. A small number of birds migrate south-east into Pakistan and north-west India.

On the breeding grounds the species is strongly associated with domestic grazing animals. This association is due to the short sward that is the preferred nesting habitat, and possibly higher invertebrate availability on grazed steppe. Breeding attempts on ploughed fields have been infrequently recorded, and then with poor breeding success. Habitat selection during migration is poorly understood but there does appear to be a link to tilled land and short grazed steppe for feeding, with wetlands used for resting. Similar habitat preferences are reported from the wintering areas. 

The Sociable Lapwing occurs in 13 Principal Range States that comprise the geographical scope of this single species action plan. The key threat for the species has been identified as hunting on the eastern migration route, with trampling of clutches through domestic livestock on the breeding grounds being a likely further threat. The development of legislation and enforcement of hunting regulations are the key measures that this Action Plan needs to implement. The loss and degradation of habitat across the breeding grounds, migration routes and wintering areas are an important but secondary threat to the species. The importance of potential future habitat loss and degradation should not be underestimated.


See also IUCN and BirdLife pages on Sociable Lapwing.

Sociable lapwing ranges
Sociable lapwing main autumn migration routes
Flock of Sociable Lapwing in Uzbekistan