White-headed Plovers

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

The White-headed Plovers 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.

White-headed Plovers
White-headed Plover

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 fore neck. 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 Plovers is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

White-headed Plovers Standing on the Ground
White-headed Plover Standing on the Ground


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

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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