Blacksmith Lapwing Nesting

There are often times that we look, but we don’t see. This was the case for me one morning when viewing an all too familiar scene.

Intaka Island created a new little sand based island in one of the ponds. This attracts many birds who use it to either dry off some feathers, preen themselves, dustbathe or simply take a quick break from flying around.

For about two weeks I’ve noticed a pair of Blacksmith Lapwings who frequent this dirty little island. I’ve witnessed them mating on it and they’ve recently started acting very hostile towards some of the ducks and herons that come too close to it. I know that these birds don’t like their space to be invaded, but it seemed as if they were protecting something. They were getting rather aggressive towards the others.

After taking a couple of sunrise shots of the female, I noticed something in the dirt when I zoomed in on my camera screen. At first I didn’t even see it until I looked properly.

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There in the middle of the island laid an egg. It was perfectly camouflaged and hardly noticeable.

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Lapwings usually lay their eggs on the open ground and they are placed on nothing more than a little scrape in the ground. The eggs are speckled like dirt and blend in very well with its environment. The protective strategy of the parents is to pretend that there aren’t any eggs around and they try to divert any predators or passers-by away from the eggs, even if by force.

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Once the parents are happy that nobody is going to disturb the eggs, they will go nest and attend to the eggs.

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I can’t wait to see the chick hatch. Unfortunately the parents picked a terrible spot to nest as this is a tiny, unprotected and popular island. The chick won’t be able to leave the island (unless it learns to swim) and will be completely exposed when the parents leave to get some food. Only time will tell and I can’t wait to look and see how this scenario plays out.

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3 thoughts on “Blacksmith Lapwing Nesting

  1. This post strikes a chord with me: yesterday I watched a similar scenario play itself out at the Ghwarrie waterhole in the Addo Elephant National Park. Unfortunately we were looking into the setting sun, so there was not photographic opportunity, nonetheless their subterfuge is fascinating. Keep us posted on the chicks when they hatch.

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