Yellow-wattled Lapwing

The Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus) is a species of wading bird of the family Charadriidae. It is a resident breeder that is restricted to the Indian Subcontinent. Its habitat is dry, stony and open grasslands or scrublands. It is common in much of India and parts of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The adult is 10.25 to 11 inches long. It is a readily noticeable and striking bird. It is pale brown with a black crown which is separated from the brown on the neck by a narrow white band. There is a yellow facial wattle (fleshy lobe). The chin and throat are black and the brown neck and upper breast is separated from the white belly by a narrow blackish line. The tail has a black band that does not extend to the outer tail-feathers. There is a white wing bar on the inner half of the wing. The bill is yellow at the base. There are tiny wing spurs on each wing. The crown feathers can be raised slightly in display.

Breeding takes place during the dry season with peaks from March to May. The female lays four eggs in a ground scrape. Both parents will visit water to wet their breast feathers which in turn can be used to keep the eggs or chicks cool. Though eggs are laid over a period of a few days, they tend to hatch simultaneously. Once hatched, the camouflaged young are ready to move about and forage along with the parents. When the parents emit an alarm call, the chicks will immediately squat on the ground and freeze. Sometimes chicks from a previous brood will accompany their parents when foraging.

Though the Yellow-wattled Lapwing is mostly sedentary, it will make some long distant movements in response to seasonal monsoons. It is a frequent visitor to the Katmandu valley in Nepal. Its diet consists of beetles, termites and other invertebrates, which are picked from the ground. This bird has been noted to carry the feather mite.

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