Tawny pipit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tawny pipit
A. c. griseus overwintering in India
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Anthus
A. campestris
Binomial name
Anthus campestris
Range of A. campestris
  • Alauda campestris Linnaeus, 1758
Anthus campestris MHNT

The tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) is a medium-large passerine bird which breeds in much of the central Palearctic from northwest Africa and Portugal to Central Siberia and on to Inner Mongolia. It is a migrant moving in winter to tropical Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. The scientific name is from Latin. Anthus is the name for a small bird of grasslands, and the specific campestris means "of the fields".[2]

This is a large pipit, 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long with wing-span 25–28 centimetres (9.8–11.0 in),[3] but is an undistinguished looking species on the ground, mainly sandy brown above and pale below. It is very similar to Richard's pipit, but is slightly smaller, has shorter wings, tail and legs and a narrower dark bill. It is also less streaked. Its flight is strong and direct, and it gives a characteristic "schip" call, higher pitched than Richard's.[3]

Its song is a short repetition of a loud disyllabic chir-ree chir-ree.[3]

In south Asia, in winter some care must be taken to distinguish this from other large pipits which winter or are resident in the area, including Richard's pipit, Blyth's pipit and paddyfield pipit. Tawny pipit is insectivorous, like its relatives.

The breeding habitat is dry open country including semi-deserts. The nest is on the ground, with 4-6 eggs being laid.

In culture[edit]

The plot of the 1944 film Tawny Pipit is about the rare event of a pair of tawny pipits breeding in England.[4] Eric Hosking's footage of the pipits was actually of meadow pipits because he could not get genuine tawny pipits from German-occupied Europe.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Anthus campestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22718501A131883347. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22718501A131883347.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. pp. 49, 87. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ a b c David William Snow; Christopher Perrins, eds. (1997). The Birds of the Western Palearctic [Abridged]. OUP. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
  4. ^ Tawny pipit at IMDb
  5. ^ Moss, Stephen. "Brits and their birds". BBC Wildlife Magazine. Retrieved 9 December 2010.

External links[edit]