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Vanellus coronatus (Crowned lapwing, Crowned plover) 

Kroonkiewiet [Afrikaans]; Igxiya (also applied to Black-winged lapwing [Xhosa]; iTitihoye (also applied to Senegal lapwing) [Zulu]; Runkerenkere (generic term for lapwing) [Kwangali]; Lekekeruane, Letletleruane [South Sotho]; Mororwane [North Sotho]; Hurekure [Shona]; Kelkelwane (generic for plovers) [Swazi]; Ghelekela (generic term for plover) [Tsonga]; Lerweerwee, Lethęętsane, Lethęjane [Tswana]; Diadeemkievit [Dutch]; Vanneau couronné [French]; Kronenkiebitz [German]; Abibe-coroado [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Charadriidae > Genus: Vanellus

Vanellus coronatus (Crowned lapwing, Crowned plover)  Vanellus coronatus (Crowned lapwing, Crowned plover) 

Crowned lapwing, De Hoop Nature Reserve. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Crowned lapwing, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Tony Faria ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa; in southern Africa it is common in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, northern and south-western South Africa and southern Mozambique. It generally prefers dry, open grassland, sparse woodland, open areas in Karoo scrub and man-made habitats, such as open fields, short pastures, airports, golf courses and roadsides.

Distribution of Crowned lapwing in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Movements and migrations

Mainly resident and sedentary, although it may move in response to changing habitat conditions, such as if grass grows to long.


It mainly eats termites (which make up approximately 80-90% of its diet), using the typical foraging technique of plovers, running, stopping then searching for prey on the ground. It often forages in groups, sometimes alongside Black-winged lapwings, moving in a regularly spaced line. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Usually a monogamous, territorial solitary nester, although polygamy is rarely recorded. It often breeds in loose groups, sometimes along with Black-winged lapwings and Spotted thick-knees, so that they can work together to alert each other to the presence of predators, and subsequently mob them together.
  • The nest (see image below) is a scrape in the ground, lined with dried grass, roots, small stones and dried dung and typically placed on bare ground or among short vegetation, sometimes adjacent to a stone or mound of earth.
Vanellus coronatus (Crowned lapwing, Crowned plover)  Vanellus coronatus (Crowned lapwing, Crowned plover) 

Crowned lapwing nest with eggs, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

Crowned lapwing on nest, South Africa. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

  • Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking from August-December.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are mainly incubated by the female, although the male occasionally takes over if it gets particularly hot.
  • The chicks leave the nest after about four hours, once their down is dry; the adults take turns in caring for the chicks and directing them to food items, so that the parent not on duty can feed. If a predator approaches, the parent on guard performs a distraction display while the young find somewhere to hide. They eventually fledge at about 29-31 days old, becoming fully independent at the onset of the following breeding season, a year later.


Not threatened, in fact its range and numbers have been increasing, as it has benefited from the modification of habitats by humans.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.