This is a follow-up on the earlier post on the Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) that is native to Australia, where juveniles were seen LINK. Masked Lapwings are also known as Spur-winged Plovers for their conspicuous yellow wing-spurs that they use mostly for attacking intruders to their nesting areas.
The debate then was whether the species was feral. Nature consultant Subaraj Rajathurai was interested to know whether there were observations of nests or chicks. Sighting of juveniles, according to him, was no confirmation the lapwing was breeding in Singapore. After all, “this escapee has not yet been confirmed to be feral and added to the Singapore checklist.”
Well, on 4th May 2013, Lena Chow sent in a video clip of a pair of Masked Lapwings guarding a nest with three chicks at the Seletar Country Club (above). The chicks were not seen as they had adopted a crouch-and-lie-still camouflage posture (see also image at top by Lena Chow).
In the above video, the alarm calls of the lapwings lasted only a few seconds “as they realised we meant no harm and calmed down,” added Lena. “Then they settled back to the chicks with single note contact calls (see earlier video above).
Photographer Patrick Lim’s image of the adult lapwing with a chick taken on 5th May, confirms that nesting resulted in chicks (above). Further confirmation came from Foo Jit Leang’s family portrait of two adults accompanied by three chicks, taken on 7th May (below).
“Guess we can now conclude that they have indeed established themselves as a feral species here, for better or for worse,” concluded Lena.
According to Jit Leang, the population of the Masked Lapwing consists of at least 18 birds as at 31st December 2012.
The Masked Lapwing is now a confirmed feral species and will be included in the Singapore checklist of birds.
Note: All videos and images were takes at the same location involving the same family of lapwings.
Lena Chow, Subaraj Rajathurai, Patrick Lim & Foo Jit Leang