Last 1st of November, a Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious) was observed in El Hondo Natural Park (Elche, Alicante) by Bryan Thomas. Subsequent observations in the same area has been reported by other observers until at least 13th of November. The bird was always observed with Northen Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus). This is the second record of the species in the Valencian Community where last time was observed in March 2005.

Avefría sociable junto con

A Sociable Lapwing with Nothern Lapwings observed in a farmland area in El Hondo (Alicante). Picture by Óscar Aldeguer

The Sociable Lapwing, which breeds in the steppes of Kazakhstan and the southern tip of Russia, is suffering a large population decline and therefore the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the species under Critically Endangered. The reasons for this rapid decline are poorly understood but the loss and destruction of habitat in the breeding grounds and the hunting pressure during migration and wintering areas are probably the most important factors. Surprisingly, records of the species in Europe (mainly in autumn) have increased in the last years. In Spain, however, most records are in winter, hence it could be a wintering area in the south-west of the country.

References

– De Juana, E. 2011. The Sociable Lapwing in Europe. British Birds 104:84-90

– De Juana, E. 2006. Aves raras de España. Lynx Edicions. Barcelona


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