In 2004, BirdLife International categorised this bird as critically endangered, due to a very rapid population decline for poorly understood reasons. The main decline took place between 1960 and 1987, when the known population halved; it is some 20â25% of the 1930s population levels. The current population was estimated to be between 600 and 1,800 mature birds in 2006, but is being revised to the upward end of that scale, possibly more, following the discovery of the species' previously unknown main wintering grounds in Syria, where 1500 birds of all ages were encountered. Additionally, in October 2007, a superflock of approximately 3,200 sociable lapwings were discovered in Turkey, according to Guven Eken, director of the Turkish Nature Association. The current IUCN classification is CR A3bcâmeaning that the population is expected to decline in the next decade or so by 80%, but based on theoretical considerations and the known habitat destruction rather than direct observation of the birds. Thus, the new discoveries might mean that as more data becomes available, the species could be downlisted to Endangered.
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