Appearance There are 23 species of Plover (Lapwing) and 2 species of Sandplover found in Kenya. Some authorities name the Vannellus sub-species 'Lapwing'; quarrelsome birds by nature. Plovers are compact birds with straight bills that are always shorter than the large head, which is diagnostic of this family. All have long legs. Some have a long spur at the 'elbow' of the wing, using it to defend territories. Some Plovers are residents in Kenya, while others are paleartic migrants. The sexes look similar and all are vocal birds.
Habits Resident Plovers breed during the rainy season, nesting in a scrape on the ground. Approximately 3 eggs are laid and parents take turns in incubating. Plovers are noisy and crafty, using screetching sounds and distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest.
Diet Many Plovers are seen around water, feeding on crustaceans in the shallows. Others feed in grasslands, on insects, invertebrates and small vertebrates. They stand stock-still, waiting, then run to pounce on their prey. They can also be observed 'foot-trembling', to dislodge prey.
Resident Plovers are seen in grasslands, mudflats and beaches. They can be found all over Kenya, each species occupying 'pockets' of territory.
Extra Plover Facts Plovers that are migrants to Kenya breed as far north as the Artic tundras, usually during June and July. A lot of these start developing breeding plumage in the preceeding months, while still in Kenya. Youngsters, in their first year, do not develop breeding plumage and stay in Kenya.
Photographs Photographed at Kenya's Masai Mara, Meru NP, Nairobi NP and Olare Orok Conservancy.