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Blacksmith Lapwing - BirdForum Opus

Adult showing the 'spurs'
Photo © by Alan Manson
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2007

Alternative name: Blacksmith Plover

Vanellus armatus


Photo © by Max Holdt
Windhoek, Namibia, April 2007

28–31 cm (11-12¼ in)

  • White belly, nape patch, underwings, rump
  • Grey upperwing-coverts
  • Tail black and white
  • Rest of plumage black
  • Carpal wing spurs (sometimes hidden in feathers)
  • Red eyes
  • Very long legs

Sexes similar


Africa, south of the Sahara:
Western Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, eSwatini


Photo © by max1
Cape Town, South Africa, October 2018

This is a monotypic species[1].


Pairs and scattered individuals frequent the shores of a wide variety inland waters and in marshy ground, flooded fields and other moist places.



Their diet consists of insects, worms, snails, seeds, molluscs and crustaceans.


The nest is a ground scrape, formed by both adults. The clutch contains 4 eggs; incubation starts once the last egg is laid and lasts for 23-31 days. Both parents incubate the eggs.


Photo © by GiGi
Near to Cape Town, South Africa, Summer 2006

Call: Clink, clink (sounding like a blacksmith hammering metal).


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Lepage D. (2021) [Avibase - https://avibase.ca/2F23EDC6]. Retrieved 16 January 2021
  3. Honolulu Zoo
  4. BF Member observations
  5. Wiersma, P., G. M. Kirwan, and P. F. D. Boesman (2020). Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.blaplo1.01.1

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1