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Vanellus spinosus

Vanellus spinosus (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Ordo: Charadriiformes
Subordo: Charadrii

Familia: Charadriidae
Genus: Vanellus
Species: Vanellus spinosus

Vanellus spinosus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Original combination: Charadrius spinosus


Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiæ: impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. i–ii, 1–824 pp DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542: 151. Reference page.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Spoorvlerkkiewiet
العربية: قطقاط شوكي الجناح
български: Шипокрила калугерица
brezhoneg: Kornigell gentrek
català: Fredeluga esperonada
čeština: Čejka trnitá
dansk: Sporevibe
Deutsch: Spornkiebitz
Ελληνικά: Πελλοκατερίνα
English: Spur-winged Lapwing
Esperanto: Spronflugila vanelo
español: Avefría espinosa
eesti: Lokutkiivitaja
euskara: Hegabera ezproidun
suomi: kynsihyyppä
français: Vanneau à éperons
Gaeilge: Feadóg sporeiteach
galego: Avefría esporada
עברית: סיקסק
magyar: Tüskés bíbic
հայերեն: Կիվիվ բտիկաթև
íslenska: Broddvepja
italiano: Pavoncella spinosa
日本語: ツバメゲリ
lietuvių: Pentinuotoji pempė
Malti: Venewwa ta' l-Ixpruni
မြန်မာဘာသာ: စစ်တလိုင်းငှက်
Nederlands: Sporenkievit
norsk: Sporevipe
polski: Czajka szponiasta
português: Abibe-esporado
română: Nagâț sudic
русский: Шпорцевый чибис
slovenčina: Cíbik tŕňokrídly
slovenščina: ostogasta priba
српски / srpski: vivak mamuzar
svenska: Sporrvipa
Kiswahili: Kiluwiluwi Kizibao-cheusi
Türkçe: Diken kanatlı kız kuşu
українська: Чайка шпорова
中文: 黑胸距翅麦鸡

The spur-winged lapwing or spur-winged plover (Vanellus spinosus) is a lapwing species, one of a group of largish waders in the family Charadriidae.

It is one of several species of wader supposed to be the "trochilus" bird said by Herodotus to have been involved in an unattested cleaning symbiosis with the Nile crocodile.


The spur-winged lapwing breeds around the eastern Mediterranean, and in a wide band from sub-Saharan west Africa to Arabia. The Greek and Turkish breeders are migratory, but other populations are resident. The species is declining in its northern range, but is abundant in much of tropical Africa, being seen at almost any wetland habitat in its range. The spur-winged lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies.

In eastern and southern Africa the species has seen a range increase, entering Zambia for the first time in 1999 and spreading south and west.[2]

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are medium-large waders with black crown, chest, foreneck stripe and tail. The face, the rest of the neck and belly are white and the wings and back are light brown. The bill and legs are black. Its striking appearance is supplemented by its noisy nature, with a loud did-he-do-it call. The bird's common name refers to a small claw or spur hidden in each of its wings.
Ecology and behaviour

This species has a preference for marshes and similar freshwater wetland habitats. The food of the spur-winged lapwing is insects and other invertebrates, which are picked from the ground.

It lays four blotchy yellowish eggs on a ground scrape. The spur-winged lapwing is known to sometimes use the wing-claws in an attack on animals and, rarely, people, who get too close to the birds' exposed offspring.
Supposed cleaning symbiosis
Main article: cleaning symbiosis

The "spur-winged plover" was identified by Henry Scherren as the "trochilus" bird said by the Greek historian Herodotus[3] to be involved in what would now be called a cleaning symbiosis with the Nile crocodile.[4] However, there is no reliable evidence that this or any other species in fact has such a relationship,[5] although Cott does record that spur-winged plovers are the birds that most often feed around basking crocodiles, and are tolerated by them.[6]


BirdLife International (2016). "Vanellus spinosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22693983A86582288. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693983A86582288.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
"Zambia". African Bird Club. 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
Herodotus. "The Histories of Herodotus". Book II: Euterpe. Ancient Worlds. pp. 2:68. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
Scherren, Henry (1906). Popular Natural History. Cassell. p. 268. "Mr. J.M. Cook, of the celebrated tourist agency, when in Egypt in 1876, "watched one of these birds, and saw it deliberately go up to a crocodile, apparently asleep, which opened its jaws. The bird hopped in, and the crocodile closed its jaws. In what appeared to be a very short time, probably not more than a minute or two, the crocodile opened its jaws, and we saw the bird go down to the water's edge." There were several of these birds about, and Mr. Cook shot two of them, which Dr. Sclater identified as Spur-winged Plovers; so that the question as to what bird enters the mouth of the crocodile is now set at rest."
Macfarland, Craig G.; Reeder, W.G. (1974). "Cleaning symbiosis involving Galapagos tortoises and two species of Darwin's finches". Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie. 34 (5): 464–483. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1974.tb01816.x. PMID 4454774.
Cott, H. B. (1961). Scientific results of an inquiry into the ecology and economic status of the Nile Crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) in Uganda and Northern Rhodesia. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 29, 211-356. [1]

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