Blacksmith Lapwing

Blacksmith Lapwing

Blacksmith plover , Blacksmith plover

Vanellus armatus
Population size
Life Span
10-20 years
cm inch 

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.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

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.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Blacksmith lapwings are carnivores. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans, worms, insects and their larvae, butterflies, beetles, and ants.

Mating Habits

26-33 days
70 days
1-4 eggs

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.


Population threats

Blacksmith lapwings don't face any major threats at present.

Population number

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.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Blacksmith lapwings are named from their repeated metallic 'tink, tink, tink' alarm call, which sounds like a hammer striking an anvil.
  • Due to their distinctive loud alarm call, Blacksmith lapwings act as ‘little alarm systems’ warning not only each other but also all nearby inhabitants of possible intruders.
  • When Blacksmith lapwings feel threatened, they don't hesitate to attack an intruder and produce their harsh loud call; during this, their wings are spread, the neck is extended and the bill points towards the intruder. Such a display is very helpful for these small birds and often deter predators.


1. Blacksmith Lapwing on Wikipedia -
2. Blacksmith Lapwing on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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