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Yellow-wattled lapwing: Vanellus malabaricus

Yellow-wattled lapwing
Vanellus malabaricus
Yellow-wattled lapwing: Vanellus malabaricus
Sanskrit: Pittamukhi tittibhak

Gender: Indeterminate

Age: Adult

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Sighted at: Village Sultanpur, Distt. Gurgaon, Haryana, India.

Date: 27.6.2015

Unlike its Red-wattled counterpart, the Yellow-wattled lapwing is and Indian bird and less common. This is my first sighting in all my expeditions. Ok...you may blame it on the “blindness” that creeps in when stalking other exotic birds. I might have overlooked thinking them to be Red-wattled. Not impossible given the state of my eyesight!


They may be found in Nepal.


Key identifying features of this male representative are:


1)     Black cap.

2)   Yellow legs. Long reedy legs of a wader. However, it is often found in dry countryside, stony terrain, fallow fields and dry stubbles – one can see its habitat in the background in the photograph.

3)   Triangular yellow wattles at base of beak.

4)   Yellow ring around eye.

5)    White eye-stripe from yellow ring of eye to nape of neck.

6)   Brown chest band like a necklace. It is not as distinct in this representative which may lead us on to think it is a juvenile, but it has a black cap instead of grey and had a chick...a juvenile...trailing behind and exploring around it. Given the protective nature this bird adopted about its chick, I am convinced it is an adult. Mother of the juvenile perhaps.

7)    Wings and back are light brown with a purple sheen. This is clearly visible in this specimen.

8)   White plumage runs from the brown chest band down belly and up to tail.

9)   White greater wing coverts are visible in flight as white wing bars with black flight feathers.

10)    Tail has white tip with a black subterminal band.

Males and females are indistinguishable from a distance – the male is slightly larger than the female and have a longer carpal spur.

There are no known subspecies.





Photographed at Village Sultanpur, Diss.Gurgaon, Haryana, India, on 27th June, 2015, using a Nikon D7200 camera and Tamron 150-600 mm lens.


© Prashant V Tenjarla
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