Trends in the Lapwing population of North-Rhine – Westphalia 1850-2014

The population of Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) in North-Rhine – Westphalia (NRW) has declined severely. Since the 1960s the species has lost an estimated 80% of its population, and from 2009-2014 the population has decreased by 40% resulting in a current population of a merely c. 12,000 pairs. Areas above 150m asl have been abandoned almost completely. The main reason for the severe declines lies in the agricultural intensification. This led to the loss of the original breeding sites until 1900. The secondary breeding sites, i.e. wet grassland, were abandoned increasingly in the 1970s resulting in 90% of nesting attempts these days taking place on arable fields, the tertiary breeding sites. Here, however, most clutches are lost due to agricultural works, and Lapwing chicks face a shortage of food due to pesticide application and lack of vegetation structure. The key requirement for a change in the Lapwing’s fortunes is a massive improvement in breeding success.
Source: Stefan R. Sudmann, Ralf Joest, Birgit Beckers, Kristian Mantel & Joachim Weiss. Charadrius 50, 2014: 23-31