Have you seen a Sociable Lapwing recently?

Fundamental to the development of effective conservation for Sociable Lapwings is a deep understanding of their global distribution and migratory flyways. The more accurate and up to date our information about the birds’ breeding and wintering ranges is, and the better we understand their movements between these, the greater chance we will have to plan and execute international conservation that will help protect them.

This map shows the Sociable Lapwing’s global distribution and plots known records from the last century. The deep yellow area shows the current breeding range, the lighter yellow area indicates the former breeding range and the blue areas indicate their known wintering areas.

Global Distribution of Sociable Lapwings

RSPB coordinates records of all sightings of Sociable Lapwings and maintains the global database and we’d like you to help them build this invaluable reference. If you’ve seen a Sociable Lapwing in the past three years and would like to add your sighting to our database please let us know by submitting an online report. You can do this by using the simple reporting form here.

Our satellite tagged birds have already sprung a couple of recent surprises that are helping us discover new routes that were previously unknown. In addition to these remote records, and the detailed reports we receive of live sightings from our project partners who are monitoring birds at various known sites throughout the species’ range, we are also keen to receive records of sightings from birders who have encountered Sociable Lapwings during their travels.

‘Citizen Science’ plays an important role in helping us understand Sociable Lapwing movements – especially when they stray beyond their known routes. Since the launch of the Amazing Journey website just two months ago we have received a number of very useful reports from enthusiastic contributors who have shared details of their sightings. These are invaluable and are really helping us build the picture. Many have also photographed birds when they’ve seen them which is great reference too.

Rann of Kutch, India - February 2010

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all contributors submitting reports online – here are just some examples of records we’ve received.

The inset picture to the left was taken by Dr Tarique Sani when he encountered a flock of 53 birds wintering at the Rann of Kutch in north-west India in February this year. You can read Dr. Sani’s blog and see more of his outstanding pictures here. To our knowledge this is the largest flock recorded in India since 1993!

Thanks also to Steve Blaber for his reports of birds encountered nearby – 10k East of Desada at the Little Rann of Kutch – in December 2007.

Alantejo Region, Portugal - December 2009

The inset image here is of an extralimital record of a Sociable Lapwing found and photographed by Peter and June Dedicoat in the Baixo Alantejo region of Portugal in December 2009.  Peter & June found the bird close to the N123 and believe it represents only the tenth record of Sociable Lapwing in Portugal. You can read full details of their account here.

Gokhan Senocak sent us his report and several images of a flock he found on the Erzurhum Plain in Turkey on September 26th this year. See here for more details from our earlier post using his images.

Oman, February 2009

This picture is of a Sociable Lapwing photographed in Oman by Keith and Janice Wiggers in February 2009. During their sighting they noted the bird was feeding in a large tilled, irrigation circle. The ground was smooth and had some short, sparse growth. They watched it feeding for several hours, and observed several short flights and wing stretches.