The Spur-winged Lapwing or Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus spinosus) is a lapwing species, one of a group of largish waders in the family Charadriidae.
It breeds around the eastern Mediterranean, and in a wide band from sub-Saharan west Africa to Arabia. The Greek and Turkish breeders are migratory, but other populations are resident.
These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are medium-large waders with black crown, chest, foreneck stripe and tail. The face, the rest of the neck and belly are white and the wings and back are light brown. The bill and legs are black. Its striking appearance is supplemented by its noisy nature, with a loud did-he-do-it call.
The bird got its name because of a spur (a small claw) hidden in each of its wings.
This species has a preference for marshes and similar freshwater wetland habitats. The food of the Spur-winged Lapwing is insects and other invertebrates, which are picked from the ground. The famed "Crocodile Bird" is sometimes taken to be this species, but it is actually the true plover Pluvianus aegyptius.
It lays two blotchy yellowish eggs on a ground scrape. The Spur-winged Lapwing is known to sometimes use the wing-claws in an attack on animals and, rarely, people, who get too close to the birds' exposed offspring .
This species is declining in its northern range, but is abundant in much of tropical Africa, being seen at almost any wetland habitat in its range. The Spur-winged Plover is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Spur-winged Lapwing, Wadi Beer-Sheva, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Note that the well-known "Spur-winged Plover" of southern Australasia is a different species Vanellus miles. To avoid confusion, it has been re-named Masked Lapwing.
A similar-looking species from Southeast Asia was called "Spur-winged Lapwing" while V. spinosus was still referred to as ""plover". This is now the River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii).