Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) is a migratory bird species listed as Critically Endangered at the global scale. The current breeding world population is estimated to be as low as 5,600 pairs, and most of the world population use Turkey as a stop-over before reaching their wintering sites. As Turkey hosts significant numbers of Sociable Lapwings during their spring and autumn migration, Doga is conducting regular research in these locations since 2007. The species and its habitats are being regularly monitored. The surveys focus on the three most important stopover sites: Ceylanpınar, Muş Plain, and Bulanık Plain. Studies carried out by Doga, RSPB and Dicle University in 2007 revealed an important flock of 3,200 individuals in Ceylanpınar IBA, corresponding to 19 percent of the world population of the species. Later studies carried out in 2010-2011 showed that Muş, Bulanık, and Malazgirt Plains are also important for the species.
The main threats to Sociable Lapwings during migration are hunting and habitat degradation. It is, therefore, crucial to acquire up-to-date information on the status of the species and magnitude of pressures at key stopover areas. Doga works in close cooperation with conservation groups in Urfa and other organizations along the flyway of the species to secure its survival at the global level.
Photograph: © RSPB