Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Behaviour This species is partially migratory (Hockey et al. 2005) and undertakes local movements (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in relation to seasonal rainfall (Hockey et al. 2005) and flooding (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding usually peaks at the start of the local dry season but may occur in any month of the year (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in solitary (del Hoyo et al. 1996), well-dispersed pairs (Hayman et al. 1986) and usually forages singly or in pairs (Urban et al. 1986), although during the non-breeding season flocks of up to 100 individuals or more (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) congregate in good feeding areas (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat It inhabits dry (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), moist or marshy grasslands (Johnsgard 1981, Hockey et al. 2005), mudflats (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), saltflats and flood-plains (del Hoyo et al. 1996) around freshwater or saline (Hayman et al. 1986) lagoons, lakes, dams, water-holes, rivers, marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), swamps (Urban et al. 1986), saltpans and estuaries (Hockey et al. 2005). During the non-breeding season flocks may also congregate around sewage farms (Johnsgard 1981), and the species often travels c.1-2 km from water to forage (Hayman et al. 1986) on ploughed land, in fields amongst cattle (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or in arable fields of vegetables and lucerne (Urban et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists of molluscs, crustaceans, worms and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape or depression (del Hoyo et al. 1996) placed on bare ground or in short grass very close to water (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in solitary, territorial pairs with neighbouring nests spaced at least 400 m apart (Urban et al. 1986).


The species is susceptible to avian botulism so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease (van Heerden 1974).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Vanellus armatus. Downloaded from on 12/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/08/2022.