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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the extent of threats to the species.
Behaviour This species is an intra-African migrant that may undertake regular seasonal movements or more irregular movements related to the occurrence of brush fires (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Some populations also remain largely sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds in loosely colonial groups with several pairs scattered over a small area, the timing of breeding varying geographically (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is gregarious throughout the year (Urban et al. 1986), usually foraging in flocks of 5-10 individuals and migrating in large flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species inhabits dry, open habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as lightly wooded savannas, open grassland with bushes and scrub, patches of burnt grass in Accacia spp. woodland and sparsely vegetated short grassland (Urban et al. 1986). It shows a strong preference for burnt grassland with newly sprouted grass (del Hoyo et al. 1996) especially if this is in the vicinity of water (Hayman et al. 1986). Other habitats frequented include cultivated land, airfields (del Hoyo et al. 1996), pastures (Urban et al. 1986) and the margins of lakes and rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of adult and larval insects (especially beetles) and other small invertebrates as well as grass seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a scrape or depression positioned on burnt ground with newly sprouting grass, on bare patches in grassland or on ploughed land (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Vanellus lugubris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/08/2020.