Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Spot-breasted Lapwing (Vanellus melanocephalus)


French: Vanneau d’Abyssinie German: Strichelbrustkiebitz Spanish: Avefría pechipinta

Lobivanellus melanocephalus


, 1845,

mountains of Simien, Ethiopia


Formerly placed in Hoplopterus, Lobivanellus or monospecific Tylibyx. Monotypic.


Ethiopian Highlands.

Descriptive notes

c. 34 cm; two adults 199 and 228 g. Ashy brown with yellow wattles and black crown, chin and throat; white supercilium; upperparts with greenish tinge; breast distinctly... read more


Described as an unpleasant-sounding rasping, rather similar to that given by V. coronatus... read more


Damp grassland, moorland with giant lobelia, giant heath, Alchemilla and tussock grass;... read more

Food and feeding

Diet undescribed. Typically forages by means of a quick run, followed by a pause and a survey of ground. Very mobile during the day, often... read more


Season Apr in Bale Mts, Aug in Shewa district. Only one nest described, which was shallow scrape in patch of grass and moss, sited on tiny... read more


Sedentary, although some local movements probable: north of Gonder numbers increase during rainy... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No population estimates available, although anecdotal evidence suggests numbers have remained constant in recent decades; locally... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Spot-breasted Lapwing (Vanellus melanocephalus). 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 22 January 2020).