SPOT BREASTED PLOVER (Vanellus melanocephalus) Wing 234 -240 mm

  The Spot Breasted Plover is an endemic usually found above 3050 meters (10,000 feet) in marshy grasslands and moorlands with giant health, giant lobelia, alchemilla and tussock grass in both the western and southeastern highlands. Widely distributed and locally common, the plover usually is seen in pairs or in small parties, or in the non breeding season, in small flocks of up to 30 – 40 individuals. Its behavior has been compared with that of the Lapwing (Vanellus) of Europe: it is a relatively tame, noisy bird with a swerving flight; on the ground it makes short runs and sudden stops. When calling, it produces a “kree – kree – kre – krep – kreep – kreep”, a “kueeeep – kueep” and the cry “pewit – pewit”. It is distinguished from other plovers by having fleshy wattles in front of the eyes and by the breast spotted with black.   The nest and eggs have only recently been described: the nest, a shallow scrape within a patch of grass and moss in the giant lobelia moorlands with small lakes, contained four eggs that were brownish blue to smoke grey and heavily marked with black. The plover is known to breed in April in the Bale Mountains and in August in Shoa Region. Other aspects of its life history are unrecorded, although locally common, it is one of the least studied plovers in the world.

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