Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus)


French: Vanneau armé German: Schmiedekiebitz Spanish: Avefría armada
Other common names: Blacksmith Plover

Charadrius armatus


, 1822,

Klaarwater (= Griquatown), South Africa


Formerly placed in monospecific genus Anitibyx; sometimes included in Hoplopterus. Has hybridized with V. spinosus in Malawi and probably in Kenya#R. Monotypic.


Angola to C Tanzania and CS Kenya, and S (except on coast of Namibia) to South Africa.

Descriptive notes

28–31 cm; 114–213 g. Medium-sized lapwing with contrasting plumage colours; glossy black face, foreneck and back, white crown and hindneck, grey upperwing-coverts... read more


Metallic alarm call “tink-tink” recalls blacksmith’s hammer on anvil, which is repeated with... read more


Dry areas near water, such as lagoons, lakes, rivers, dams, waterholes, sewage farms and marshes;... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, worms and insects in typical plover style. Also forages by foot-trembling, pecking from water surface while... read more


Laying in all months throughout range; frequently at start of dry season, especially Jul–Oct (peak Aug–Sept) in S Africa, but... read more


Mainly sedentary. Occurs as non-breeding migrant in DRCongo and a vagrant in Burundi. Local... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No population estimates available; generally common to locally abundant. In Zimbabwe, has benefited from increasing availability of... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus). 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 13 December 2019).