White-headed Plovers or White-crowned Plovers (Vanellus albiceps)

The White-headed Plover or White-crowned Plover (Vanellus albiceps) is a medium-sized wader, which despite its name is a lapwing rather than a typical plover. It is resident throughout tropical Africa, usually near large rivers.

It is a wader which breeds on exposed sand or shingle near rivers. 2-3 eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The nest and young are defended noisily and aggressively against all intruders, up to and including the hippopotamus.

This lapwing is unmistakable. Its wings and tail are strikingly patterned in black and white, the back is brown and the underparts white. The head is particularly striking, being mainly grey, but with a white crown and foreneck. The eyering, facial wattles and legs are yellow. Females, males and young birds are similar in plumage.

Food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates. This species often feeds in small flocks when not breeding.

The White-headed Plover is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

References

Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-7099-2034-2

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