Plain-backed pipit

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  (Redirected from Anthus leucophrys)
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Plain-backed pipit
Plain-backed Pipit - Tanzania 0025 (16999610272).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Anthus
A. leucophrys
Binomial name
Anthus leucophrys
Vieillot, 1818

The plain-backed pipit or plain pipit (Anthus leucophrys) is a medium-sized passerine bird which is a resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

It is found in open habitats, especially short grassland and cultivation. It builds its cup-shaped nest on the ground and usually lays three eggs. Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous.

Pipit Plain-backed 2007 04 11 07 45 010784.jpg

The plain-backed pipit is a large pipit at 17 cm, but is otherwise an undistinguished looking species, faintly streaked grey-brown above and pale below with light breast streaking. It has a strong white supercilium, and dark moustachial stripes. It has long legs and tail, and a long dark bill. Sexes are similar, but juveniles have warmer brown upperparts.

Some care must be taken to distinguish this species from wintering tawny pipits, Anthus campestris. The plain-backed pipit is sturdier and darker than the Tawny, and stands more upright. Perhaps the best distinction is the characteristic "ssissik" call, quite different from the tawny pipit's "tchilip".


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Anthus leucophrys". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22718485A94583064. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22718485A94583064.en. Retrieved 21 January 2017.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)