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the web of life in southern Africa

Vanellus spinosus (Spur-winged lapwing, Spur-winged plover) 

Spoorvlerkkiewiet [Afrikaans]; Sporenkievit [Dutch]; Vanneau perons [French]; Spornkiebitz [German]; Abibe-esporado [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 spinosus (Spur-winged lapwing, Spur-winged plover)   

Spur-winged plover, Ethiopia. [photo Kristian Svensson ]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs from south-east Europe and the Near East to sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia south to Tanzania, while it is a rare vagrant to southern Africa. Here it has been recorded twice in north-eastern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), mainly on dry open ground and short grass areas adjacent to water, although it may also occupy ponds, marshes and river flood plains.


It mainly eats insects, supplemented with invertebrates, small lizards and seeds, doing most of its foraging using the  typical foraging technique of plovers, running, stopping then searching for prey before repeating the process.


  • 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.