Grey-headed Lapwing - its origins

To: "crompton" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Grey-headed Lapwing - its origins
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 21:50:36 +1000
G. Crompton wrote:

From: "crompton" <>
To: "birding aus" <>
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 3:08 PM
Subject: Grey Headed Lapwing

'Hi all, Great trip reports but can anybody give some background info on the
species, where it is usually found, its migration patterns and how it may of
come to be at Barren Junction.
thanks G.Crompton'

I hope the following satisfies:

    There are two populations of Grey-headed Lapwing. One is thought to be
confined to Japan, both breeding and wintering there although subject to
movements and migrations within that country.  Its habitat there sounds very
similar to that at Burren Junction. The breeding season is from March to
    The Burren Junction bird however, is more likely to derive from the
population on mainland Asia where it breeds in China in a very restricted
zone immediately to the NW of Korea in an area roughly equal to that of the
Korean Peninsula. They migrate to winter in a much larger zone from southern
China, across SE Asia to NE India.
    My take to attempt to explain such anomalies as its occurrence in
Australia is by a phenomenon termed reverse migration. Applied in this case
the theory is that this individual somehow got its wires crossed and that
when spring came, instead of heading north it went south. Perhaps its
internal time clock was faulty and it confused spring with autumn or its
compass was misdirected. The latter seems more likely because its plumage
indicates that its moult sequences were normal. It had attained breeding
plumage at the right time in spring. I say this because the bird is an adult
in slightly worn breeding plumage as may be expected by late June. That is
my judgement after viewing photographs of Japanese birds. There are other
possible explanations such as that it was a failed breeder returning early
to it's winter quarters that simply overshot. But the margin of error seems
too great. Previously the most southerly reports are from Borneo and

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136


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