Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)


Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) was described by Boddaert in 1783 as Tringa indica. It is a common sight in the Indian subcontinent where it is widely distributed. Red-wattled Lapwing breeds from West Asia (Iraq, SW Iran, Persian gulf), east wards across South Asia (Baluchistan, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and the entire Indian subcontinent to Kanya Kumari and upto 1800 meters in Kashmir, Nepal. It is a dainty plover, just slightly bigger than a partridge with a fleshy red wattle in front of each eye.

It measures 30 to 35 cm in length, weighs about 110 to 230 gram and has a wing span of  allow 82 to 85 cm. Sexes are alike. Feeding mostly on insects, grubs and Molluscs, the lapwing plays an important role in natural pest control and a gradual decline in population could impact this natural service.

The breeding Season is from March to August. This specimen was observed in June at The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India where the nest was laid on open ground which was cracking due to loss of water. It detects intrusions very fast. The birds will attempt to dive bomb or distract potential predators.

They may even lure away the predators by enacting the broken wing display. Predators are led away from the nest which may be beautifully camouflaged with the surroundings. When nesting, both the male and female take turns to incubate eggs. To protect the eggs from the high temperatures, the birds often soak their belly feathers with water to cool the eggs.

The IUCN Red list recognizes it as a species of least concern

Also see- (An Instinct Denied) , (Kya Banega Phir Se Gharaunda. A Hindi Version of “An Instinct Denied”).

©Srimaa Communication

Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi and Manoj Kumar Yadav

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