River Lapwing crouching when threatened

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Frank Chiew’s images of a River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii) were photographed in Paro, Bhutan in May 2014. The image above shows the bird standing upright on a large stone in a river. With its pair of long legs, this posture makes it conspicuous. The image below shows it “kneeling”, making itself less visible as it felt threatened. At the same time this kneeling posture gives it an advantage should it need to suddenly spring up and fly off.

Generally, plovers react differently under different circumstances (Piersma, 1996). During non-breeding periods, their reaction to the approach of a predator may vary from flying up in flocks to moving away, or to couching flat on the ground or in the water in an effort not to be noticed. When incubating, they may sneak away from the nest or sit tight, leaving only at the last moment to perform a distracting display, either in the air or on the ground by walking away as if injured.

Frank Chiew
June 2014

Piersma, T. 1996. Family Charadriidae (Plovers). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 384-409.


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