The behavioural and morphological affinities of some vanelline plovers (Vanellinae: Charadrüformes: Aves)


  • Dept. of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada


The behavioural displays of six species of vanelline plover (Vanellus, Charadriidae, Charadriiformes) in southern Africa and Israel were recorded in the field. Using those displays considered to be systematically useful, I compared the relationships between species using behavioural and morphological characters. In general, the relationships between species using behaviour and morphology were congruent. The placement of the blackwinged plover Vanellus melanopterus and lesser blackwinged plover V. lugubris in a superspecies (Snow, 1978) was not supported by either behavioural or morphological data. The superspecific status of the blacksmith plover V. armatus and spurwinged plover V. spinosus proposed by Snow (1978) was supported by both data sets examined here. The morphological data examined indicate that the two South American species, the Chilean lapwing V. chilensis and Andean lapwing V. resplendens, are more closely related to one another than to any other lapwing species, and are probably derived from the Old World blacksmith/spurwinged plover superspecies.