Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Senegal Lapwing (Vanellus lugubris)


French: Vanneau terne German: Trauerkiebitz Spanish: Avefría lúgubre
Other common names: Lesser Black-winged Lapwing

Charadrius lugubris


, 1826,



Sometimes placed in Hoplopterus or Stephanibyx. Probably close to V. melanopterus, but some behavioural and morphological differences. Monotypic.


S Mali; N of forest zone in Guinea and Ivory Coast; coast from Sierra Leone patchily to SW Nigeria; Gabon, W DRCongo and CW Angola E to Kenya, and S through Tanzania, NE Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to E South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal); also islands off Tanzania (Pemba, Zanzibar, Latham, Mafia); occasional visitor to Senegal (has bred)#R. Non-breeding visitor to S Somalia.

Descriptive notes

22–26 cm; 107–140 g. Small, slender grey-headed plover. Slimmer-bodied than larger V. melanopterus; typically has smaller, more sharply defined white... read more


Regularly gives a clear, piping “tlu-wit” or “thi-wit”, as well as a plaintive, trisyllabic whistle... read more


Dry, open habitats, sometimes with bushes, scrub and trees; prefers burnt grassland and newly grown... read more

Food and feeding

Small invertebrates, including insects and their larvae, especially beetles; also grass seeds. Sometimes feeds at night. Forms flocks of up... read more


Laying dates geographically very variable: Mar–May in Sierra Leone; Jun–Sept in coastal Gabon; Jun–Nov (mainly Aug–... read more


Sedentary and intra-African migrant; movements possiby related to brush fires, resulting in new... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Overall population estimated at 25,000–70,000, of which 20,000–50,000 individuals occur in E & SE Africa, and 5000... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Senegal Lapwing (Vanellus lugubris). 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 23 May 2019).