Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus)


French: Vanneau à éperons German: Spornkiebitz Spanish: Avefría espinosa
Other common names: Spur-winged Plover

Charadrius spinosus


, 1758,



Often placed in genus Hoplopterus. Closely related to V. duvaucelii, with which sometimes considered conspecific. African populations apparently marginally shorter-winged and shorter-legged than Mediterranean ones#R, but differences considered too trivial to warrant naming of geographical races. Monotypic.


E Mediterranean and Middle East to SW Iran#R, and in Africa up R Nile to C & S Sudan; also S of Sahara from S Mauritania and Senegal through Nigeria to Ethiopia and Somalia, and S to Uganda, Kenya and N & E Tanzania, perhaps spreading to N Zambia#R.

Descriptive notes

25–28 cm; 127–177 g; wingspan 69–81 cm. Crown, forehead and throat black, cheeks and sides of neck white; slight crest not normally apparent; breast, upper... read more


Noisy alarm calls reminiscent of those of V. armatus, a sharp metallic “pitt”... read more


Usually on dry ground, but rarely far from water. Inhabits great variety of habitats, including... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on insects and their larvae, especially beetles; also grasshoppers, flies, midges, termites, ants, spiders, myriapods;... read more


In tropical Africa, laying dates usually locally restricted, but considerable geographical variation; Israel Mar–Sept; Turkey early... read more


In Africa resident, locally making erratic movements; in places moves into drier areas during rainy... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Probably 25,000–100,000 birds in SE Europe, SW Asia and Egypt. No population estimate available for rest of Africa, but 1000... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus). 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 29 January 2020).