Tawny Pipit/Anthus campestris - Adult

Tawny Pipit/Anthus campestris - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Tawny Pipit/Anthus campestris - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Tawny Pipit/Anthus campestris - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Tawny Pipit/Anthus campestris - Photographer: Frank Schulkes

L 15½-18 cm. Sparse breeder on sand dunes, sandy open ground, at gravel-pits and in clearings, in S Europe also on barren mountain slopes. In Britain & Ireland rare but regular on passage (esp. Aug- Oct). Winters in Africa.
IDENTIFICATION: A large, slim pipit with relatively uniform sandycoloured plumage. Dark loral stripe in all plumages (occasionally less obvious owing to angle of light or wear). Hindclaw relatively short (cf. Richard’s Pipit). Legs pinkish or light brown. - Adult: Crown to back almost unstreaked (only hint of diffuse spotting), underparts unstreaked buff-white, sometimes with a few faint narrow streaks on upper breast-side. Distinct pale supercilium; usually dark moustachial stripe and very thin malar stripe. Median coverts contrastingly dark, in fresh plumage broadly tipped buffwhite. - Juvenile: Crown to back heavily dark-patterned, feathers finely fringed white. Upper breast dark-spotted (varying in extent; at times some streaks on flanks, too). Resembles Richard’s Pipit (see latter).
VOICE: Call a full ‘tshilp’ (soft ending; slightly House Sparrow-like, but can also recall Short-toed Lark) or shorter ‘chüp’. Song simple, usually delivered in undulating song-flight, two or three syllables with ringing tone, often stressed and drawn out at end, slowly repeated in time with peaks in flight, e.g. ‘tsirliih...tsirliih...tsirliih...’. (In the Balkans it may sound like ‘sr’r’riüh’, trembling and dropping in pitch.)

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