CONSERVATION STATUS.

The Ararat Plain is being intensively occupied by agriculture and it appears that habitat loss is one of the major threats for the species. Direct persecution during legal hunting season is also a threat for this slow flyer and is mostly a result of lack of hunters’ education. In one of the carp-farms at Armash Wetlands the hunting is stopped due to slow development of birdwatching; however outside that farm it still takes place. Potentially the species can be affected also by pollution of the area by persistent organic pesticides, washed from the surrounding agricultural lands and by heavy metals, which could reach the area from the nearby tailing pond of the gold mine.

HABITAT.

The White-tailed Lapwing breeds in the vicinity of shallow standing or slow-flowing water with suitable smooth beds, preferring brackish wetlands of Ararat Plain.

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

The species usually feeds on dry land in typical manner of all lapwings, but also by foot-dabbling in shallow water, and sometimes catches prey by probing in soft mud; in Africa also wades in deeper water, sometimes completely submerging head.

 

EGGS.

Clutch 3-4 eggs, buff to yellow-buff with dark brown or grey markings, single-brooded, but replacement clutches may be laid. Incubation takes place in 21–24 days by both sexes, starting with last egg. Chicks are tended by both parents; fledging in about 30 days.

YOUNG.

The young stay with parents at natal site after fledging.

DIET.

Diet probably consists mainly of insects, especially beetles and grasshoppers, but also caterpillars and fly larvae; also takes worms, molluscs and crustaceans, including freshwater shrimps.

NESTING.

The breeding season lays mainly between mid April and May till June and early July. The species often occurs in loose colonies; frequently together with other colonial breeders. Nest is a shallow scrape with sparse lining of plant material or shells and pebbles, typically (but not always) in the open, usually near water. Age of first breeding is probably 1–2 years.

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 occupies Turkey, Syria and Jordan, being distributed north-east through Armenia and Transcaspia to Lake Balkhash, and to south-east through Iraq and Iran to Pakistan; recently recorded breeding in Romania and Cyprus. Winters from Sudan through Iraq and Iran to Pakistan and India.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is included in IUCN Red List as Least Concern, and in Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010) as Vulnerable (VU D1). None of the breeding pairs of the species are covered by Protected Area network of Armenia. In 2017 Armash fish-ponds have been included in the Emerald Network, protected under Bern Convention. The proposed conservation measures include: (1) development of management plan for “Armash” Emerald Site in order to improve protection of the breeding pairs; (2) inclusion of the conservation education module in conditions for licensing of hunters; (3) strengthening the control of the poachers and pet owners; (4) further development of birdwatching in Armash fish-ponds in order to create permanent flow of people who’s presence will be an additional support for species conservation.