Masked Lapwing in-breeding

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CooloolaDreaming's picture
Masked Lapwing in-breeding

Hi all,

We have a reserve and seasonal creek behind our house and I have kept it clear of weeds and mow it regularly. I do this to discourage snakes from crossing and, appologies to those who love them, to discourage Masked Lapwings from nesting there.

When the Cooloola Cove estate was first built there was not a lot of housing construction. For a long time this left the area open to the Lapwings to breed up. Now, the Masked Lapwing population in Cooloola Cove is huge. I think that just about every suitable nesting site is occupied. A walk or drive along the streets will see a pair of mated birds about every 100 to 200 metres where conditions are right. I have also seen unmated birds in flocks of up 30 individuals and 6 to 10 is quite common. These usually reside on empty allotments that are not suitable for nesting.

With the population now so high and probably arising from a small original population I started to wonder about in-breeding.

Last week I started taking note of markings and colouration on birds that I encounter. The mated pair that now live in my backyard look identical even down to the similarly shaped dark smudge about the size of a 5c piece in the same place on their breast. I am going to stick my neck out and say that this is an indication of siblings forming mating pairs.

Can someone with some knowledge of their breeding habits comment on this please?

Woko's picture

I'm not good at all on the breeding habits of Masked Lapwings but a couple of thoughts occur to me:

The high breeding rate of the Masked Lapwings suggest few, if any, predators. This suggests the folk of Cooloola Cove estate have few, if any, cats, especially since breeding occurs on the ground in open areas.

The high breeding rate also suggests there's something of a mono-culture in the area with little habitat other than lawns or open, mowed grass.

Perhaps any in-breeding could eventually be rectified by providing a more diverse range of habitats.

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