Masked Lapwing, six years on

posted in: Exotics | 3

In August 2006, we posted an account of the Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) seen around the Singapore Zoological Gardens LINK. This Australian lapwing apparently escaped from the zoo and became free-ranging, often seen in and around the zoo as well as the Central Catchment Reserve.

Six years on, Sim Kian Peng reported that the population of these lapwings has increased: “I spotted a group of 15-18 in a flock along the stretch of Sungei Bedok. I see them regularly now in groups of 2s, 4s, 10s and flying singlly around that vicinity. I have also taken a number of photographs when they are feeding on the ground or in flight. I am excited to see them establishing a small population here away from their native AU/NZ homes. I am glad also to see juveniles flying among the flocks.”

Sim Kian Peng
March 2013

3 Responses

  1. Subaraj Rajathurai

    Dear Kian Peng,

    while I do not share your enthusiasm that this exotic is establishing itself in Singapore (exotics can cause problems to and very often replace native wildlife), I am interested in knowing if you have observed any nests or chicks. Juveniles are not sufficient to confirm that they are breeding. This escapee has not yet been confirmed to be feral and added to the Singapore checklist.



    • Sim Kian Peng

      Dear Subraj,

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      Frankly, i observe the masked lapwings from a bird photographer’s angle.
      I shoot whatever interesting, or unusual if i can find.
      While i agree that foreign species might impact the local ecology, like the South American Peacock Bass that invaded our waters, these lapwings seem to be digging up worms and shell fish from the sandy patches, often seen feeding peacefully alongside with the sandpipers
      Years ago it was report less than a handful escaped from the zoo, now i counted a flock more than 15 including juveniles. With these birds not known to fly long distance from Australia to Singapore. I suspect they are breeding here,

      although not conclusive if i see no nest no chicks, it does not bother me. As long i am happy to consistently see them at the exact spot i found them since 2years back, i am happy as a photographer 🙂

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