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Lapwing (Plover): Blacksmith

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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francoisd
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Blacksmith Lapwing (Plover)

Unread postby francoisd » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:54 am

Blacksmith Lapwing (Plover) (Vanellus armatus)

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Physical characteristics:
The Blacksmith Plover is a medium sized lapwing bird approximately 12 inches long. It is a strikingly patterned bird with red eyes, and very long legs. The long legs enable it to move very quickly across the open moist landscapes enjoyed by the creature. Both sexes are alike having primarily black and white plumage with a tinge of occasional gray. This bird has a white belly, a white nape patch on the top and side of its head, and white under the wings. The rump and tail of the Blacksmith Plover are white with a bit of black. The rest of the animal is black. The Blacksmith Plover has a spur on both wings buried in it’s plumage which is used for fighting and protection. (Kindersley, 1993).

Distribution and habitat:
The Blacksmith Plover is distributed throughout southern and eastern Africa. It has recently extended it’s range and now breeds south to Cape Town, South Africa. The Plover inhabits the dry ground beside rivers, lakes, dams, ponds, lagoons, waterholes and sewage farms.

Behavior:
The Blacksmith is an assertive, conspicuous but wary creature. When the Blacksmith Plover is disturbed it makes a very loud metallic sounding "clink, clink" that resembles the sound of someone hammering a piece of metal. These Plovers are usually found alone or in pairs but will occasionally congregate with other plovers and fly in a flock.

Diet:
The Blacksmith Plover spends most of its time during the day at lakes and marshes with muddy banks where it feeds on insects, worms, snails, seeds, small mollusks, and crustaceans. There have been scattered reports over the past 2,500 years of the Blacksmith Plover feeding near and in the mouths of crocodiles. The Blacksmith Plover plucks parasites from the backs of the reptiles as they bask in the sun. The Blacksmith will even enter the mouth of the crocodile to pick remnants of food from between the teeth or leeches from the lining of the mouth (Burton, 1985). The Blacksmith Plover is a monogamous territorial bird.

Breeding and nesting:
While the Plover is in non-breeding it will form pairs or be part of a group. With the advent of breeding the birds begging to court each other. The courtship ceremony involves the birds running around in a straight up posture, getting very excited, calling, perhaps picking up an object and shaking it around, bowing, and turning the head from side to side. They will later pair off and may copulate. This continues while the birds are still in flocks and goes on until just before the eggs are laid (Brown, 1982).

Both sexes of the Blacksmith Plover participate in building the nest. The Blacksmith Plover builds its nest on the ground using its body to dig the hole. This procedure is called the nest-scrape. The Blacksmith Plover lays one to four eggs each time. Incubation by both parents begins after the last egg is laid and lasts about 23 – 31 days. One of the parents must sit on the eggs at all times in order for them to hatch. The parents relieve each other every 20 – 80 minutes.

Blacksmith Plover chicks weigh approximately 16.5 oz at birth. The chicks leave the nest within just a few hours. The babies depend on their instinctive response to the parents call and their ability to camouflage themselves for survival. They can make themselves almost invisible with their plumage and remain motionless until any danger has passed.

All info taken from the website of the Honolulu Zoo

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Katja
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Unread postby Katja » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:14 pm

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Near Mopani Camp
KTP: November 2014
KNP: March 2015

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Unread postby saraf » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:00 pm

Again somewhere near Mopani camp

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Unread postby Muhammad » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:20 pm

and this little brave bird,not afraid at all
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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:55 am

Something is amiss with the weight of the chick quoted in the introduction to the BSP.
chicks weigh approximately 16.5 oz at birth
This means the chick weighs 500g. The decimal point needs to move one place to the left, I think. The figure quoted will then read 1.65 oz (50g).

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:14 pm

During my KNP trip at the end of September I had an opportunity to get down to the hippo pools near Olifants Camp. We found this blacksmith plover nest near the water's edge about 40 cm higher than the water level. Some twigs in a water-scoured hole (about 15 - 18 cm in diameter) in the rock bed constituted the nest. The eggs were about 23 mm high and say 17 mm wide. (I did not take measurements - these dimensions are recalled from a dinky old memory!)

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The chick photographed here is probably a week old. It stood about 60 mm tall. The series of photographs demonstrates the birds amazing ability to employ its camouflage and a freeze tactic to hide itself when it feels threatened.

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A medium size chicken egg weighs about 70g, (checked on my weighless scale!) and a chicken egg is easily double the size of the BSP egg.

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Unread postby Snoobab » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:46 am

Great pics Johan
How did you get so close without the parents attention or were you bombed the whole time.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:35 am

I think the parents also trust the freeze/camouflage tactic because I was not harassed in any way. The only adult BSP in the area was making a reasonable racket some distance away and succeeded in drawing my attention just for a moment. Somehow the little chick saw the opportunity and moved its position. That was that - try as I may, I couldn't spot it again!

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Lapwing: Blacksmith

Unread postby Sprocky » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:47 pm

I hope I have got the new name right. If there is already a thread, then mods please merge them.

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Re: Lapwing: Blacksmith

Unread postby flying cheetah » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:08 pm

Nice pics of a beautiful bird :thumbs_up:
Personaly I would prefer if the lapwing wouldn´t fill the whole picture
(maybe a bit more water in front of the bill?), but the reflection in the
water looks great :wink:
Akukho nyon' endiz' ingahlali phansi. (Zulu)
There is not a bird that flies and never sits down.

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Re: Lapwing: Blacksmith

Unread postby Sprocky » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:06 am

Thanks for the crit flying cheetah. :thumbs_up: All crit welcome, good or bad.

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Re: Lapwing: Blacksmith

Unread postby DOGMAD » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:23 am

Sprocky,
Here is one i :cam: at Sunset dam
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CurtisDillon
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Re: Lapwing (Plover): Blacksmith

Unread postby CurtisDillon » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:12 pm

I was taking a walk the other morning and it was a beautiful day. Always armed with my camera I saw 2 Egyptian geese standing by a small puddle of water. As I approached them they of course started to move away and the faster I started going toward them the faster they waddled away. So I decided to stop because I didn’t want to stress them out. On my way back past the puddle of water suddenly I was attacked by two Blacksmith Lapwing (Plovers). I then knew they must have a nest or little ones there. As I was going to walk I thought I had better look at the ground so I don’t step on the eggs or babies. I know the babies go and lie motionless in the grass and they make their nests on the ground.

And there it was, in the footprint of a cow in the mud was this tiny little plover.

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I took just one picture of it and left it because the parents were busy with a full-scale frontal attack. Thank goodness they don’t have fire arms because I wouldn’t be here to tell you this. These are the bravest little birds. The one almost hit me in the head. As I was leaving I took some pictures of them flying.

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From a distance I watched them as they landed and called for the baby. Then I saw they had two babies, which they had successfully protected from me. They can be proud parents.
Conservation is the lifeblood of nature!

West Coast National Park 22 November 2009

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Leeukos
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Re: Lapwing (Plover): Blacksmith

Unread postby Leeukos » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:33 pm

A Blacksmith Lapwing at Gardenia Hide in the Kruger National Park.

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"A roaring lion kills no game."
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"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
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Re: Lapwing (Plover): Blacksmith

Unread postby Leeukos » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:15 am

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"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


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