Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
A3bcd+4bcd A2bc+3bcd+4bcd A2bc+3bcd+4bcd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Critically Endangered A3bcd+4bcd
2016 Critically Endangered A3bcd+4bcd
2015 Critically Endangered A3bcd+4bcd
2013 Critically Endangered A3bcd+4bcd
2012 Critically Endangered A3bcd+4bcd
2010 Critically Endangered A3b,c,d; A4b,c,d
2009 Critically Endangered A3b,c; ; A4b,c
2008 Critically Endangered
2006 Critically Endangered
2004 Critically Endangered
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 1,670,000 km2 medium
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 6,130,000 km2 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 11200 mature individuals medium estimated 2006
Population trend decreasing medium estimated 1983-2010
Rate of change over the past 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 50-79% - - -
Rate of change over the future 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 80-100% - - -
Rate of change over the past & future 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 80-100% - - -
Generation length 9 years - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage of mature individuals in largest subpopulation 100% - - -

Population justification: Surveys in 2006 in Kazakhstan estimated 376 breeding pairs in an area of 145,000 km2. Extrapolating this population density across the breeding range yields a possible total population size of 5,600 breeding pairs, i.e. 11,200 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 16,000-17,000 individuals in total; but work is continuing in order to refine this estimate. This total is consistent with record counts of 3,200 individuals in Turkey in October 2007 as well as more recent counts on the Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan border where it is estimated that 6,000-8,000 individuals were using the area (Donald et al. 2016). The European population is estimated at 0-10 pairs, which equates to 0-20 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: It has suffered a very rapid decline and range contraction. In northern Kazakhstan, a decline of 40% during 1930-1960, was followed by a further halving of numbers during 1960-1987. However, recent fieldwork in central Kazakhstan (centred on Korgalzhyn), suggests that the population trend is now stable and possibly starting to increase (e.g. the number of nests in a constant survey area around Korgalzhyn increased from 85 in 2005 to 107 in 2006 and 113 in 2007 (Sheldon et al. 2005, M. A. Koshkin, J. Kamp and R. D. Sheldon in litt. 2007); similarly numbers of nests in a constant area of 10,000 km2 around Pavlodar, north-east Kazakhstan were 67 in 1985, 55 in 1991, and 140 in 2007 (J. Kamp in litt. 2007). It is not known if this is a consistent trend across the species's range however, and a global decline of >50% is still precautionarily suspected for the past 27 years (three generations), with an even steeper decline projected for the next three generations owing to potentially severe threats. Further fieldwork may provide data that leads to revision of these estimates. In Europe the population size is estimated to have decreased by 80% or more in 27 years (three generations) and by 25% or more in 9 years (one generation) (BirdLife International 2015). 

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Afghanistan extant native yes
Armenia extant native yes
Austria extant vagrant yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Bahrain extant vagrant yes
Belarus extant vagrant
Belgium extant vagrant
Bulgaria extant vagrant
Cameroon possibly extinct native yes
Central African Republic possibly extinct native yes
Chad possibly extinct native yes
China (mainland) extinct vagrant
Cyprus extant vagrant
Czechia extant vagrant
Denmark extant vagrant
Egypt extant vagrant
Eritrea possibly extinct native yes
Ethiopia possibly extinct native yes
Finland extant vagrant
France extant vagrant
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant vagrant
Greece extant vagrant
Hungary extant vagrant
India extant native yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Iraq extant native yes yes
Ireland extant vagrant
Israel extant native yes yes
Italy extant vagrant
Jordan extant native yes
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kuwait extant vagrant yes yes
Kyrgyzstan possibly extinct native yes
Lebanon extant native yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Maldives extant vagrant
Malta extant vagrant
Mongolia possibly extinct vagrant
Morocco extant vagrant
Netherlands extant vagrant
Nigeria possibly extinct uncertain yes
Oman extant native yes yes
Pakistan extant native yes
Palestine extant native yes
Poland extant vagrant
Portugal extant vagrant
Qatar extant native yes
Romania extant vagrant
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Saudi Arabia extant native yes yes
Seychelles extant vagrant
Slovakia extant vagrant
Slovenia extant vagrant
Somalia extant vagrant
Spain extant vagrant
Sri Lanka extant native yes
Sudan extant native yes
Sweden extant vagrant
Switzerland extant vagrant
Syria extant native yes yes
Tajikistan extant native yes
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native yes
Ukraine extinct vagrant
United Arab Emirates extant native yes yes
United Kingdom extant vagrant
Uzbekistan extant native yes
Yemen extant vagrant yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Russia (European) Kulaksay lowland
Israel Western Negev
Israel Hula valley
Syria Golan Heights
Israel Zevulun valley
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys
Iran, Islamic Republic of Anzali Mordab complex
Syria Buhayrat al-Assad
Russia (European) Stepnovski saltmarshes
Russia (European) Bulukhta area
Russia (European) Mouth of Samur river
Pakistan Kirthar National Park (including Hub Dam)
India Valmiki Tiger Reserve and Saraiyaman Lake
India Okhla Bird Sanctuary
India Flamingo City
India Naliya Grassland (Lala Bustard Wildlife Sanctuary)
India Dihaila Jheel and other wetlands
India Keoladeo National Park and Ajan Bande
India Kurra Jheel
India Corbett Tiger Reserve
Azerbaijan Lake Hajigabul
Azerbaijan Gizilagach
Kazakhstan Irgiz-Turgay Lakes
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve
Russia (Central Asian) Blagoveschenskaya (Kulunda lake and vicinity)
Kazakhstan Ulytau Mountains
Jordan Irbid - Mafraq plains
Syria Tual al-'Abba
Kazakhstan Zhusandala
Kazakhstan Sarykopa Lake System
Kazakhstan Lower reaches of the Emba River
Kazakhstan Shoshkaly Lake System
Russia (European) Krasnoarmeiskiye waste lands
Kazakhstan Amankaragay Forest
Kazakhstan Ertis Ormany (Shaldai Forest)
Kazakhstan Chingiztau Mountains
Russia (European) Southern part of Chograiski reservoir
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river
Kazakhstan Tounsor Hollow Lakes
Türkiye Ceylanpınar
Türkiye İğdır Plain
Türkiye Ağrı Plain
Türkiye Bulanık and Malazgirt Plains
Kazakhstan Zhumay-Mayshukyr Lake System
Russia (Central Asian) Uzkaya Steppe
Russia (Central Asian) Birsuat
Kazakhstan Zharsor-Urkash Salt Lakes
Kazakhstan Vicinity of Korgalzhyn village
Kazakhstan Aktubek
Kazakhstan Kumdykol-Zharlykol Lake System
Kazakhstan Uyalyshalkar Lake System
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Amangeldy
Russia (Central Asian) Wetlands of Karasuk town
Kazakhstan Koybagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System
Iraq Qadissiya Lake
Iraq Haditha Wetlands and Baghdadi
Yemen Aden
Georgia Batumi
India Kharda Dam
Saudi Arabia Tabarjal

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Desert Temperate major non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major non-breeding
Grassland Temperate major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 300 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Nomadic grazing Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Reduced reproductive success
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Other ecosystem modifications Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Vanellus gregarius. Downloaded from on 04/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/03/2024.