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Spur-winged Lapwing | Vanellus spinosus

The Spur-winged Lapwing is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Charadriidae bird family group which includes birds such as Plovers, Lapwings.

The description for the Spur-winged Lapwing (Latin name Vanellus spinosus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Vanellus spinosus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 920 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 410. You will find a picture of the Spur-winged Lapwing on page 385.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Spur-winged Plover in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Spur-winged Lapwing between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Spur-winged Lapwing has a height of 26 cms and weighs around 160 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Vanellus spinosus has a black coloured throat, black legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are red.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are red

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is black

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Spur-winged Lapwing strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Spur-winged Lapwing is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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