Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Near Threatened

River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii)


French: Vanneau pie German: Flusskiebitz Spanish: Avefría fluvial

Charadrius Duvaucelii


, 1826,

Calcutta, India


Often placed in genus Hoplopterus. Closely related to V. spinosus, with which sometimes considered conspecific. Monotypic.


NC India (from Himachal) and Nepal through EC & NE India to SC China (W Yunnan) and Indochina to N Malay Peninsula; status farther E unclear, but possibly extends to Hainan and to Hong Kong.

Descriptive notes

29·5–31·5 cm; 143–185 g. Black-faced lapwing with dark red eyes; crown and nape feathers can be raised to form a crest; black carpal spurs. Differs... read more


Noisy, especially during displays, in which long crest is raised to full extent, when gives four-... read more


Generally found near rivers, especially in cultivated land, and on sandbanks and shingle banks;... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, worms, crustaceans and molluscs; also claimed to take frogs and tadpoles. Typically observed alone or in pairs, but small... read more


Nesting Mar–Jun in Indian Subcontinent, with chicks observed as early as early Apr in Bhutan. Elaborate display by party of four... read more


Sedentary; some seasonal nomadic movements.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Total population probably very small, unlikely to number more than 25,000 birds, and possibly no more than 15,... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii). 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 20 May 2019).