Since 2013 I’ve been working with Sakib Ahmed and Sayam Chowdhury in Bangladesh to survey River Lapwings (Vanellus duvaucelii). There is very little published data on the species yet it is almost certainly declining, indeed it is classified as Near Threatened by BirdLife International, and is considered Endangered within Bangladesh. The global population is estimated at between 1,000 and 25,000 individuals – the broad range highlighting how little is known about the population size.
Our research paper has just been published in Wader Study, and the abstract is reproduced below and is also available online. Wader Study is the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the International Wader Study Group and for anyone that has an interest in waders (shorebirds) the organisation is well worth joining.
Abstract: Surveys of River Lapwings Vanellus duvaucelii in Bangladesh and observations on their nesting ecology.
Data on the globally Near Threatened River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii are scarce. In this study, we investigate the species’ population density, breeding biology and conservation status in Bangladesh. In six transects with an aggregate length of 63.45 km, we counted 78 adult River Lapwings, an overall density of 1.2 per km. Densities were greater in the three transects in the district of Chapai Nawabganj (52 adults along 18.80 km: 2.8 per km) than in the three transects in the district of Kushtia (26 adults along 44.65 km: 0.6 per km). Our surveys show that these areas hold the highest concentration of River Lapwings in Bangladesh and possibly anywhere in the world. We studied ten River Lapwing nests, and we present the biometrics of 11 eggs. We also assessed the threats the species is facing in the areas we surveyed. These include sediment extraction from rivers, river dredging, construction of dams and other anthropogenic activities and disturbances.
Currently the sites are unprotected. In our view, they are so important to River Lapwings that they should be given protected status such as designation as ‘riverine protected areas’.
If anyone is interested in hearing more about our work on River Lapwing then please leave a comment or send me a message via the contact form. We’re keen to do more detailed work on this species in the future, and we’re currently looking at options for funding further research.