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Crowned Lapwing
(Vanellus coronatus)

Crowned Lapwing

General description

The Crowned Lapwing is easily recognised by its black crown intersected by an annular white halo and combination of brown and white colours and red legs. The bill has a red base and black tip.

Adults are noisy and conspicuous.

Juveniles are dull versions of adults, vermiculated on the wings and mantle, the legs yellowy rather than red and the bill lacking the red base.

Name & classification

Scientific name:
Vanellus coronatus

Common names:
Crowned Lapwing (English)
Kroonkiewiet (Afrikaans)

Crowned Plover

Roberts VII english name:
Crowned Lapwing

Roberts VII scientific name:
Vanellus coronatus

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Further information



Their diet consists of a variety of insects, but termites form an important component.

The nest is a shallow scrape lined with grass, stones or bits of dung.

Bare-part colours of males brighten in the breeding season. Different types of display flights lure the female to a defended territory. A female accepting the male and territory will follow the male during his display flight. Mates may be retained for life.

Egg-laying is timed to precede the rainy season and most incubating is done by the female. The male assists only on hot days, when he either incubates or shades the nest.

Natural distribution:
These lapwings occur from the Red Sea coast of Somalia to southern and southwestern Africa.

Crowned lapwings prefer short, dry grassland which may be overgrazed or burnt, but avoid mountains.

In higher-rainfall areas such as parts of Zambia and Zimbabwe, they occur mainly as dry-season visitors.

In dry regions of northern Botswana, however, they are attracted in large numbers when good rainfall occurs.

In southern Africa their highest concentrations are to be found in the dry central Kalahari region.

Although generally outnumbered by blacksmith lapwings, they are the most widespread and locally the most numerous lapwing species in their area of distribution. Their numbers have increased in the latter part of the 20th century after benefiting from a range of human activities.

The crowned lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

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