The Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus malabaricus, is a lapwing, a group of medium sized waders in the family Charadriidae. It is a resident breeder restricted to the Indian Subcontinent and occurs in lowland dry habitats.
From Goa, India
These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds found in dry stony and open grassland or scrub habitats. They are medium-sized pale brown waders with a black crown which is separated from the brown on the neck by a narrow white band and large yellow facial wattles. The chin and throat are black and the brown neck and upper breast is separated from the white belly by a narrow blackish line. The tail has a subterminal black band which does not extend into the outer tail-feathers. There is a white wingbar on the inner half of the wing. The bill is yellow at the base. They have tiny yellow carpal spurs. The crown feathers can be raised slightly in displays. They are mostly sedentary but populations make long distance movements in response to the monsoons. They are occasional visitors to the Katmandu valley in Nepal.
There are no recognized races, but there is a size increase from south to north. They are 260-280mm long with a wing of 192-211mm, bill 23-26mm, tarsus 57-66mm and tail 71-84mm. Juveniles have a brown crown and the sexes are alike but males have slightly longer wings and tarsi. The call is a sharp tchee-it call.
Local names include Zirdi in Hindi, Chitawa in Telugu and Jithiri in Rajasthan. It is called Jithiri in Pakistan, Pili tatihri in Punjabi, Laori in Madhya Pradesh, Parasna titodi or Vagdau titodi in Gujarati, Pitmukhi titvi in Marathi, Manjakanni in Malayalam, Haladi tittibha in Kannada and Kiraluwa in Sinhalese.
Habitat and distribution
This species is common in much of India, being seen in a variety of open lowland habitats. It tends to be seen in drier habitats than the Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus. They are found in most parts of India, parts of Pakistan Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Behaviour and ecology
These lapwings breed in the dry season with peak breeding in March to May ahead of the monsoons. They lay four eggs in a ground scrape. Parents visit water and wet their breast feathers which may then be used to cool the eggs or chicks. The four eggs typically hatch simultaneously, even though they are laid with a difference of a few days. The nidifugous young are well camouflaged as they forage with the parents. Chicks squat flat on the ground and freeze when parents emit an alarm call. Chicks from a previous brood may sometimes continue to live in the vicinity of their parents although they are not . Simultaneous courtship displays among several pairs in a tight groups has been noted.
The food of the Yellow-wattled Lapwing is beetles, termites and other invertebrates, which are picked from the ground. The feather mite Magimelia dolichosikya has been noted as an ectoparasite of this species.