Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Lapwing (Vanellus tectus)


French: Vanneau à tête noire German: Schwarzschopfkiebitz Spanish: Avefría coletuda

Charadrius tectus


, 1783,



Sometimes placed in Hoplopterus, Lobivanellus or monospecific Sarciophorus. Has apparently hybridized with V. coronatus in Kenya#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. t. tectus (Boddaert, 1783) – S Mauritania and Senegal to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and NW Kenya.
  • V. t. latifrons (Reichenow, 1881) – S Somalia to E Kenya; recorded also in N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 25 cm; 100 g (nominate, one female), 99–120 g (lati­frons). Crested lapwing with red wattles, black-and-white head, and pinkish-red legs; vertical black... read more


    Vocalizations considered similar to those of V. spinosus, but less disagreeable in tone.... read more


    Dry plains or desert, bare or with short grass, fixed sand dunes, dry woodland on lateritic or... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists of insects and their larvae and gastropods. Feeds mainly at night, resting in shade during the day.


    Laying dates locally restricted by seasons, but varying geographically, peaking either during dry or rainy seasons, depending on region;... read more


    Resident; local movements during rains noted in Mauritania, Mali and Nigeria; mainly dry-season... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No population estimates available, except 1000–10,000 birds in Mali; reported to be generally common to uncommon throughout... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-headed Lapwing (Vanellus tectus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).