31 January 2023

Sociable Lapwing – Al Jouf

Phil Roberts and I have found wintering Sociable Lapwings at Haradh & Qarat Al Ulya in the Eastern Province in recent years as well as at Wadi Ad Dewasir. These birds use the extensive pivot irrigation fields and particularly like the ploughed one. As we knew birds were present, from satellite tagging data, in the north of the Kingdom we kept a close eye out to see if we could find some in Al Jouf in late December 2022. We searched many fields paying attention to the ploughed ones without luck until I managed to locate a single bird in a field with some Spur-winged Lapwings and a single Northern Lapwing. Phil then located a White-tailed Plover in the same field making a nice collection of good species. Sociable Lapwing is listed as Critically Endangered because its population has undergone a very rapid reduction, for reasons that are poorly understood. This decline is projected to continue and increase in the future. Unfortunately, the bird we found kept its distance and was only really photographable when the sheep herder flushed the group on a number of occasions.