Distraction tactic of a Red-wattled Lapwing

posted in: Nesting | 2

In November 2008, Foo Sia Khoon was in Sungei Balang, Johore, Malaysia when he encountered a family of Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus).

“We saw a good number of Red-wattled Lapwing in Sg Balang, Malaysia but they would constantly keep their distance away from us. Except this one, its body language seemed to be trying to draw us towards its direction (which is in the paddy field). We were in a car on the so-called “main road”, so it was not as though we could move as it wished.

“Sometimes, it moved closer to us and would retract backwards. It was like “catch me if you can”. Sometimes it would call out loudly to catch our attention. Sometimes it would move sideways and hope we follow it. Sometimes, it pretended to look for something in one direction and would move away. Obviously, it was trying to lure us away from where we were.

“When we saw actions as such, we knew either the chick/juvenile was nearby or it could be nesting in the vicinity. We heard the faint call of a chick but could not locate it. Later, our friends in another car informed us that a chick was peeping from behind some grasses. Our car happened to be positioned between the chick and the adult lapwing. This gave us a chance get a close shot of the adult lapwing…

“For completeness, I enclose an image of a Red-wattled Lapwing chick taken in Singapore three years ago (top-centre).”

Images by Foo Sai Khoon.

This post is a cooperative effort between www.naturepixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

2 Responses

  1. Lejeune Pelletier

    you’ve been doing a lot of good work.nice website.
    I kept watch on a pair of nesting redwattled lapwings in the south of India in June-July 2007, till the eggs hatched. To my bewilderment, after the eggs hatched, I searched all around the place but could find no remains of the egg shells. three of the four chicks were out, though, which means that the eggs did hatch and were not carried away whole. One egg didn’t hatch(maybe was rotten, or something like that. It rains that month where I was). What do the birds do to the egg shells? Do they deliberately clear the place of them? Or are the shells eaten up by some other animal? The latter isn’t very possible, because the vigil of the lapwings only gets better after the chicks are out! anyway, the chicks failed to survive. One chick lasted about a month, but was still not very big. When the last chick disappeared, the birds became silent and brooding, and there were pariah kites on the ground. In a part of the city where kites abound, even the smartest of lapwings stand very little chance.

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