RED-WATTLED LAPWING – VOCALISATION

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“On the afternoon of 13th May 2015, while passing through Lembah Beringin, (Peninsular Malaysia), we sighted a pair of Red-wattled Lapwings (Vanellus indicus) with their young chick in an open grassy habitat. As the chick was so adorable, we attempted to take a closer look. However, when we approached, our presence was apparently not welcome, as one parent flew away, leaving the other behind to keep a watchful eye (above).

“At the same time, the chick had immediately crouched down and was well concealed amongst the grass. During this period when both parents were briefly separated, there was constant communication between the two. A video clip of their vocalisation may be previewed here:

“The purpose of this vocalisation is to serve as a contact call between parents, as well as possibly a signal for the vulnerable chick to keep staying down until the ‘coast is clear’. This behaviour is an important survival strategy, especially when potential predators like raptors or reptiles have been spotted by the parents. We are reminded that in the wild, the role of parenting is fraught with many risks and responsibilities.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming & Dr. Vilma D’Rozario
Singapore
19th December 2015

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