Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis, Xinjiang, May. (Craig Brelsford)

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis breeds Great Britain and Iberia to eastern Siberia, with schlueteri in Tianshan and Altai in Xinjiang. ID & COMPARISON In morphology, voice, and habits, very much like Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni. Crown and mantle brownish-tinged, not greenish-tinged as Olive-backed, and more distinctly streaked. Tree Pipit has less prominent, duller supercilium, with no black border above, and Tree Pipit lacks Olive-backed’s pair of spots, one black and one creamy white, at rear of ear coverts. Also very similar to Meadow Pipit A. pratensis, but Tree has stealthier gait and more prominent supercilium, Tree contrasts more below (having a buffish breast and whiter belly), Tree has flank streaks that are obviously narrower than its breast streaks, and Tree is more likely to be found in forests. BARE PARTS Bill brown above, pink below; feet pink. VOICE Highly variable song includes rapid, finch-like trills; call a short, high-pitched, single-note tseep, distinctly harsher than Meadow Pipit and very much like Olive-backed Pipit, but call of latter slightly thinner, higher-pitched, and less slurry. — 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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