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Northern Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

CONSERVATION STATUS.

Population trend of Northern Lapwing in Armenia demonstrates moderate decline and the species has not been recorded in the last decade in Aparan plateau, which is most probably a result of land-use intensification and hunting. The species is known to suffer from nest predation by native and introduced predators (such as corvids, gulls, foxes, stray dogs and cats), especially in the areas of high-level human disturbance. In Armenia the Lapwings are hunted for recreational purposes usually due to lack of hunters' awareness.

HABITAT.

Breeds in variety of wide open habitats with short vegetation or bare ground, including various wetlands, heaths, moors, arable and cereal fields, meadows and hayfields. Most preferable habitats of the species in Armenia are shallow marshes and wet meadows.  

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

Locates prey both visually and aurally, mostly as bird walks or runs, occasionally pausing to probe ground. Rather frequently feeds by foot-trembling.

 

EGGS.

Clutch four eggs, occasionally 2–3 or five, laid on consecutive or alternate days, color creamy buff or stone, rarely bluish or reddish, marked with black; clutch completed in five days; incubation 21–30 days, by both sexes but mainly female. Chicks tended by both parents, although brooding primarily by female; fledging in 33–40 days.

YOUNG.

After fledging the young are forming mixed flocks with adults.

DIET.

Feeds on invertebrate prey, primarily earthworms and insects, including larvae and adults of beetles, ants, Diptera flies, moths and crickets; also spiders and snails. On arable fields, adults and chicks take mainly cranefly larvae and earthworms, but evidently not selectively.

NESTING.

Nest is a shallow scrape, lined with some vegetation, sited in short grassy vegetation, in wet areas on slight eminence. Single-brooded, but will lay replacement clutch if first lost.

MIGRATION.

The species is resident and migratory to the country and conducts vertical migrations moving from upland wet meadows and marshes to the wetlands of Ararat Plain; in cold years moves further south. Post-breeding birds gather in flocks.

DISTRIBUTION.

The species breeds from Europe to southern and eastern Siberia,  Mongolia and northern China. Its wintering range is from western Europe and North Africa across Mediterranean, Middle East, and northern India to south-east China, Korea and southern Japan.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is included in IUCN Red List as Near Threatened, Convention on Migratory Species - Appendix II, EU Birds Directive - Annex II, and Bern Convention - Annex III. Despite on that Northern Lapwing is not listed in the Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010). At current, some breeding habitats of the species have been included into the Emerald Network (2016) protected under Bern Convention; however, only those Emerald Sites, which overlap with the National Parks of Armenia, namely Lake Arpi and Lake Sevan, have some level of protection for the species. The proposed conservation measures include: (1) assessment of its conservation status for the next edition of Red Book of Animals of Armenia (planned for 2020); (2) development of management plans for Emerald Sites: Lori Lakes, Khor Virap - Armash, Gorhajk, Metsamor, and Akhuryan reservoir; (3) inclusion of the conservation education tests in conditions of licensing of hunters; (4) strengthening the control over hunters; (5) further development of birdwatching in the country as a way of species appreciation; (6) implementation of additional research of habitat preferences and threats for the species in Armenia; (7) continuation of monitoring of Northern Lapwings in Armenia to track the further population changes; (8) inclusion of the norms about human behavior in the areas inhabited by disturbance sensitive red-listed species into educational curricula.

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