Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)


French: Vanneau indien German: Rotlappenkiebitz Spanish: Avefría india

Tringa Indica


, 1783,

Goa, India


Sometimes placed in Hoplopterus or Lobivanellus. Race atronuchalis distinctive#R, with continuous black collar, isolating the white ear-coverts (3); and narrow white line between black on nape and brown of mantle, not always clearly visible or developed on specimens (1); zone of intergradation could add a score of 1 or 2; further information required. Apart from atronuchalis, differences between races mostly clinal, involving depth of gloss, coloration of upperparts and size. Name atronuchalis is a junior synonym of atrogularis, but latter not used since 19th century and thus a nomen oblitum#R. Four subspecies normally recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • V. i. aigneri (Laubmann, 1913) – SE Turkey, Iraq, Iran, E Arabia, S Transcaspia, Afghanistan and Pakistan; probable breeding in extreme NE Syria#R.
  • V. i. indicus (Boddaert, 1783) – Red-wattled Lapwing – E Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • V. i. lankae (Koelz, 1939) – Sri Lanka.
  • V. i. atronuchalis (Jerdon, 1864) – Black-necked Lapwing – NE India (Assam) and Myanmar to N Peninsular Malaysia and S Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–35 cm; 110–230 g; wingspan 80–81 cm. Boldly patterned lapwing with black breast, red bill with black tip, small red wattles and long yellow legs. Sexes... read more


    Very noisy, including at night, giving a loud, raucous, creaking and strident “did-he-do-it”, “kree... read more


    From lowlands up to c. 1800 m in Sri Lanka and to at least 2300 m in Himalayas (Bhutan), in open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beetles and other insects, including ants, butterfly and fly larvae, grasshoppers, crickets, bugs, earwigs and termites; also molluscs,... read more


    Lays mid Apr to late Jun in Iraq and between late Jan and early Jul (mainly Apr–May) in E Arabia; race indicus breeds Mar... read more


    Resident, dispersive and in places migratory. In winter, generally moves down from high altitudes.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). SW Asia holds in the order of 100,000 birds, SC Asia more than 100,000 birds, and unknown number in SE Asia. Total population in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus). 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).