White-headed Plover, Vanellus albiceps

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

It is a wader and breeds on exposed sand or shingle near rivers. Two to three eggs are laid in a ground scrape that is noisily defended 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.

Image Caption: A white-crowned plover at The National Avery. Credit: Derek Ramsey/WIkipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)