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 stable, 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.
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).
Behaviour This species is an intra-African migrant, sedentary in some areas but moving nomadically and opportunistically in others depending on rainfall and flood regimes (although there is no pattern of seasonal movements) (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Breeding occurs in all months of the year depending on locality and the timing of the rains (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). This species is more solitary than other lapwings, being found singly, in pairs or small groups even outside of the breeding season (Urban, et al. 1986). Occasionally larger flocks of between 20 and 60 individuals (Zambia) (Johnsgard 1981) form in the non-breeding season in newly available habitats such as burnt grassland or temporary waters (Urban, et al. 1986). The species is diurnally active (Urban, et al. 1986). Habitat This species demonstrates ecological plasticity, in some areas occupying the same habitat all year round, in others changing habitat seasonally and opportunistically (Urban, et al. 1986). It is mainly a lowland species, with the highest altitude of occurrence being 2,200 m in East Africa and Ethiopia (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Habitats frequented by this species include marshes, damp grass and muddy or sandy ground beside lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, inundated grassland, temporary pools (Urban, et al. 1986) and flooded rice fields (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996), as well as drier habitats such as savanna, dry grassland, airports, cultivated land (Urban, et al. 1986, del Hoyo, et al. 1996) (ploughed land and dry, weedy, fallow fields) (Urban, et al. 1986), wastelands and burnt grassland (del Hoyo, et al. 1996). Diet This species is omnivorous, its diet chiefly consisting of insects such as grasshoppers, locusts, beetles (including dung beetles and weevils) (Urban, et al. 1986, Hockey, et al. 2005), crickets, termites and various aquatic insects, also worms, coarse grass leaves and grass seeds (del Hoyo, et al. 1996, Hockey, et al. 2005). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow depression situated in short grass, on bare ground or amongst weeds in fallow fields, frequently near roads or human settlements (del Hoyo, et al. 1996), and always within 100 m of water (Hayman, et al. 1986). In Rwanda 3-4 pairs were recorded nesting close together in a small colony, but in South Africa pairs are highly territorial (Urban, et al. 1986).
This species is threatened by habitat loss in South Africa as a result of commercial afforestation (Allan, et al. 1997). Utilisation The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Hockey, et al. 2005).
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Vanellus senegallus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/02/2020.