Sociable Lapwings breed in northern and central Kazakhstan and south-central Russia, dispersing through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, to key wintering sites in Israel, Eritrea, Sudan and Pakistan and north-west India. There are two migration routes, one west and one east, and birds are faithful to their route. However, they mingle on the breeding grounds. The map below shows the routes of three tagged birds, highlighting the two main migration paths.
The species 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. Fieldwork has shown the population to be larger than once feared. Surveys in 2006 in Kazakhstan counted 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; but work is continuing in order to refine this estimate. A satellite-tagged bird from central Kazakhstan was located in Turkey in October 2007 in a flock of 3,200 individuals, even larger than the total of simultaneous counts of over 1,500, maybe as high as 2,000, in northern Syria and 1,000 individuals in south-eastern Turkey in March 2007.