Blacksmith plover , Blacksmith plover
The blacksmith lapwing or blacksmith plover (Vanellus armatus ) is a lapwing species that occurs commonly from Kenya through central Tanzania to southern and southwestern Africa. The vernacular name derives from the repeated metallic 'tink, tink, tink' alarm call, which suggests a blacksmith's hammer striking an anvil.
Blacksmith lapwings are colorful wading birds commonly found in Africa. They are very boldly patterned in black, grey and white, possibly warning colors to predators. The bare parts are black. Males and females are generally alike but females average larger and heavier.
Blacksmith lapwings occur from Kenya through central Tanzania to southern and southwestern Africa. They inhabit wetlands of all sizes and even very small damp areas caused by a spilling water trough can attract them. These birds live close to lakes, rivers, streams, swamps, estuaries and lagoons, in dry and marshy grassland, and floodplains. They try to avoid mountains of any type.
Blacksmith lapwings can be sedentary or migratory which depends on the intensity of rainfall and food availability. Lapwings are diurnal birds and spend their day flying and walking around searching for food. They usually feed on the ground or catch insects on the wing. When hunting in shallow water, lapwings may shake their foot in order to attract prey to the surface. These birds are gregarious and often gather in flocks, however, they may also be seen singly or in pairs. They can be very loud especially when alarmed producing ‘klink klink klink’ or ‘tink tink tink’ calls; these calls are very noisy and repeated continuously.
Blacksmith lapwings are monogamous and form pair bonds that remain together for life. They usually breed in spring. They are solitary nesters and during the breeding season become very territorial. Blacksmith lapwings build their nests near water in protective area usually under a bush. Nests are shallow depressions on bare ground or short grass, lined with plants and grasses and spaced at least 400 m apart. The female lays 1-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents about 26 to 33 days. The chicks are precocial; they are able to leave the nest within a few hours but first few weeks they always remain close to their parents. The young fledge around 40 days after hatching and become independent a month later.
Blacksmith lapwings don't face any major threats at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Blacksmith lapwing total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.