Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis, France, May. (Craig Brelsford)

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis is a common Western Palearctic species, reported in China in Xinjiang around Tarim River and near Urumqi; very rare vagrant eastern China. ID & COMPARISON Mainly olive-brown above, uniform white or buffish below, with crown and mantle heavily streaked black, rump unstreaked or faintly streaked, and breast and flanks heavily streaked. Tree Pipit A. trivialis has more crouching gait and stronger bill and supercilium, contrasts more below (buff breast compared to white belly), has flank streaks that are obviously narrower than breast streaks, and is more likely to be found in forests. Winter-plumage Rosy Pipit A. roseatus has more prominent supercilium, dark lores, broken eye-ring and almost all-dark bill (slightly paler at base of lower mandible). Water Pipit A. spinoletta has blackish legs, and in Water Pipit as well as in Buff-bellied Pipit A. rubescens streaking on crown and mantle is fainter and base color on upperparts colder grey-brown. Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus in non-rufous plumage has more clear-cut black stripes on mantle and a more distinct supercilium. BARE PARTS Bill dark above with obvious yellow base to lower mandible; legs pink. VOICE Distinctive soft seep call, easily distinguished from harsher call of Tree Pipit and drawn-out tsiiip of Red-Throated. — Craig Brelsford

THE PIPITS AND WAGTAILS OF CHINA has research on all 21 species in the family Motacillidae in China. Click any link below:

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus
Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Eastern Yellow Wagtail M. tschutschensis
Citrine Wagtail M. citreola
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
White Wagtail M. alba
Japanese Wagtail M. grandis
White-browed Wagtail M. maderaspatensis
Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi
Paddyfield Pipit A. rufulus
Blyth’s Pipit A. godlewskii
Tawny Pipit A. campestris
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Tree Pipit A. trivialis
Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni
Pechora Pipit A. gustavi
Rosy Pipit A. roseatus
Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus
Buff-bellied Pipit A. rubescens
Water Pipit A. spinoletta
Upland Pipit A. sylvanus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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