Rosy Pipit

Rosy Pipit
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus, Sichuan, China, elev. 4480 m (14,700 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)
Rosy Pipit
Sichuan, May. (Craig Brelsford)
Rosy Pipit
Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus, Qinghai, China, elev. 3450 m (11,320 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)
Rosy Pipit
Qinghai, August. (Craig Brelsford)
Juvenile Cuculus cuckoo and Rosy Pipit
Rosy Pipit serving as foster parent to Common Cuckoo, Sichuan, July. (Craig Brelsford)

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus breeds above timberline in Himalayas and adjacent ranges in China, from Tibet and western and southern Xinjiang east to Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi to Shanxi and Hebei, and south to western Sichuan and parts of Guizhou and Yunnan. Breeding also possible Inner Mongolia and Mt. Wuyi, Fujian. Moves south and to lower altitudes in winter; reported as far southeast as Hainan. Breeding and winter range overlaps similar Water Pipit A. spinoletta blakistoni; winter range overlaps Buff-bellied Pipit A. rubescens japonicus and Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus. ID & COMPARISON Breeding has whitish belly and bright pink throat and breast with black streaks or spotting on breast and flanks. Prominent supercilium, drooping at rear end, white to pinkish; lores, eyestripe, and moustachial stripe black. Crown to mantle greyish-brown with distinct black streaking on mantle, less distinct on crown and largely unstreaked nape. Wings brownish-black, with two wingbars and greenish tinge to edges. Non-breeding has buffish-white underparts with heavy black streaking; upperparts browner than in breeding plumage. Breeding Buff-bellied Pipit and Water Pipit less boldly streaked on mantle, lack greenish tinge, and have pale lores; Water has black legs. Breeding Rosy brighter pink on throat and breast than Water. Rosy has darker lores and paler pink throat and breast than Red-throated Pipit. Non-breeding Rosy has dark lores, broken eye-ring, longer supercilium, and darker bill than Red-throated. BARE PARTS Breeding bill all black; non-breeding yellow base of lower mandible may be seen at close range. Feet pink. VOICE Monotonous song delivered from perch on boulder or bush or during display flight; call similar to Buff-bellied Pipit and Water Pipit but sharper. — 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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