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 Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,670,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 6,130,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 11200 medium estimated 2006
Population trend Decreasing medium estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 80-100 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 80-100 - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Largest subpopulations 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 9 - - -

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 Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Armenia N Extant Yes
Austria V Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahrain V Extant Yes
Belarus V Extant
Belgium V Extant
Bulgaria V Extant
Cameroon N Possibly Extinct Yes
Central African Republic N Possibly Extinct Yes
Chad N Possibly Extinct Yes
China (mainland) V Extinct
Cyprus V Extant
Czech Republic V Extant
Denmark V Extant
Egypt V Extant
Eritrea N Possibly Extinct Yes
Ethiopia N Possibly Extinct Yes
Finland V Extant
France V Extant
Georgia N Extant Yes
Germany V Extant
Greece V Extant
Hungary V Extant
India N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes Yes
Ireland V Extant
Israel N Extant Yes Yes
Italy V Extant
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kuwait V Extant Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Possibly Extinct Yes
Lebanon N Extant Yes
Luxembourg V Extant
Maldives V Extant
Malta V Extant
Mongolia V Possibly Extinct
Morocco V Extant
Netherlands V Extant
Nigeria U Possibly Extinct Yes
Oman N Extant Yes Yes
Pakistan N Extant Yes
Palestinian Authority Territories N Extant Yes
Poland V Extant
Portugal V Extant
Qatar N Extant Yes
Romania V Extant
Russia N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes Yes
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes Yes
Seychelles V Extant
Slovakia V Extant
Slovenia V Extant
Somalia V Extant
Spain V Extant
Sri Lanka N Extant Yes
Sudan N Extant Yes
Sweden V Extant
Switzerland V Extant
Syria N Extant Yes Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Turkey N Extant Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Ukraine V Extinct
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Yemen V Extant Yes

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

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable 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 (2019) Species factsheet: Vanellus gregarius. Downloaded from on 20/03/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/03/2019.