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Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

CONSERVATION STATUS.

During last decade the population shows moderate decline, which is most probably
related to decrease of its breeding habitats at the brackish wetlands of Ararat Plain.
While the natural wetlands become drained, the carp farms are facing transformation of
the shoreline of the ponds and thus lose the breeding habitats for the species.

HABITAT.

Kentish Plovers breed at the banks in brackish wetlands of Ararat Plain. The major
requirements for this very sensitive species are shallow water, where it finds the food,
and minimum of human disturbance at the nesting sites. During migration the species
occurs in various wetlands of Ararat Plain and at the shore of the lake Sevan.

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

The species feeds mostly in the shallow water, at the drying muddy areas of wetlands,
and at the banks. It gets the invertebrates under stones, in sand, mad, and sometimes in
shallow water. Fast running manner of motion of the species alternates with quick stops
aimed at checking of the invertebrates.

 

EGGS.

1-3. Pale greenish-gray with dark brown spots. The eggs are incubated for 20–25 days by both sexes; females mostly incubate during the day whilst males incubate during the night. The young leave the nests in several days after hatching, and then  stay under parental care for next 30-40 days. However it should be mentioned that not always both parents take care of the brood. Vise versa, usually one of the parents leave the brood, and another one has to keep caring of it.

YOUNG.

When the Kentish Plovers are able to fly, they still stay under parental care for about 15-20 days, and after they beging dispersion.

DIET.

Its diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae, gammarids and other crustaceans, mollusks, polychaete worms, and spiders.

NESTING.

First breeds at age of 4-5 years. The nest is a loosely constructed structure of dry herbaceous vegetation, spaced sometimes as close as 1-2 m but usually more apart, and located among stones and grass, sometimes under rocks or bushes, if the landscape permits. Nest is constructed by both sexes.

MIGRATION.

The dispersion of the species begins in the period between late July and mid August, depending on the year. The birds migrate mainly in late August to late September. Birds from this part of the world are known to winter in North Africa.

DISTRIBUTION.

The species breeds across Europe, Asia and Africa. In Europe it mostly occupies the western part, but also occur in Southern Caucasus. In Africa its populations are found on the southern coast of Senegal and along the Northern coast of the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea coast. The breeding area continues along the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain in the Middle East..

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is evaluated as Least Concern in IUCN Red List, and as Vulnerable VU D1 in the Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010). The species is not included in the Appendices of CITES and Bern  Conventions. While the part of migratory routes and stopover points are partly covered by Lake Sevan and Lake Arpi National Parks, its breeding range remains at the private land of Armash Wetlands. In 2016 the breeding range of Kentish Plover, which lays within Armash Wetlands was proposed as Emerald Site and in 2018 was designated as Key Biodiversity Area. At current the potential threat of intensification of carp-farming which might result to destruction of the species’ breeding habitat exists. Another threat comes from lack of hunters’ education and proper licensing conditions, which lead to unintentional poaching during the species’ fall migration, caused by confusing of the species with other waders. Taking the mentioned above into consideration its important to: (1) develop management plan for Armash Wetlands as Emerald Site, aimed at creation of win-win models of carp-farming combined with birdwatching; (2) develop and install new licensing conditions for hunters, which will include a standard exam, aimed at testing hunters’ knowledge in Red Listed species and skills in identifications of permitted game birds.

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