Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Charadriidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Eduardo S. A. Santos

Priorities for Future Research

Despite recent studies on the reproductive biology and social behavior of Southern Lapwings, several aspects of their biology remain unknown. There is evidence that the species is a cooperative breeder, however, the composition of the cooperative groups remains unknown. More effort is needed to understand the structure and dynamics of cooperation in Southern Lapwings. As a precocial species, it is intriguing that some breeding pairs have helpers. Would this be a case of classic cooperative breeding system, with related helpers-at-the-nest, or a social polyandry (a female mated to more than one male)? Also, what are the ecological pressures that lead to some Southern Lapwings breeding in groups? Depending on the structure of the group (whether helpers are breeding unrelated males or nonbreeding relatives), interesting phenomena, such as habitat saturation or differential sex mortality rates, may lead some birds to postpone breeding.

Why are Southern Lapwings so common in urban areas throughout their range, while other members of its family are not even present in such habitats? Questions like these remain to be tackled.

Recommended Citation

Santos, E. S. A. (2010). Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.