Environmental features influencing Red-wattled Lapwing and River Lapwing in a suburban area of the lower Gangetic plains, West Bengal, India
247 – 254
1 December 21
Souvik Barik, Goutam Kumar Saha, Subhendu Mazumdar
Department of Zoology, Shibpur Dinobundhoo Institution (College), Shibpur, Howrah, India
Suburban areas often include highly fragmented habitats through rapid and unplanned land use changes, which may threaten water birds. River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii and Red-wattled Lapwing V. indicus often occur near urban and rural settlements. However, little is known about their habitat requirements, which is crucial for their conservation. We conducted a total of 32 point-count surveys across four habitats (crop fields, riverine habitat, green spaces and wetlands) in the suburbs of Katwa, India and examined the relationship between the counts of the two lapwing species and habitat types, as well as different land-cover features within each habitat. Between October 2017 and July 2018, we counted 134 Red-wattled Lapwings in 27 (84%) surveys and 28 River Lapwings in 10 (31%) surveys. The maximum number of detections for Red-wattled Lapwings and River Lapwings in any given survey was 17 and 6, respectively. The number of Red-wattled Lapwings was highest during summer and in crop fields, whereas River Lapwings were most frequent in riverine habitat and during the monsoon season. Red-wattled Lapwings were more abundant in areas with a higher proportion of arable land cover, hedges and road, but less abundant with increasing area of buildings, open ground and tree cover. River Lapwings were most abundant in areas with a higher proportion of hedges and open water, but less abundant in areas with arable land, roads and buildings. Our findings provide a better understanding of the habitat use of both lapwing species in suburban areas, and may be useful for conservation planning in suburban areas across their ranges.