Golden pipit

Tmetothylacus tenellus

TAXONOMY

Macronyx tenellus Cabanis, 1878, Taita, southeast Kenya. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Pipit doré; German: Goldpieper; Spanish: Bisbita Dorada.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.1-6.3 in (13-16 cm); 0.6-0.8 oz (18-22 g). Mottled brown from forehead to rump; golden-yellow underparts, cheek, and brow with black bib across throat.

DISTRIBUTION

Western Somalia and Ethiopia, west to southeast Sudan and south to southern Tanzania; vagrant to the north in Oman and south to northern South Africa.

HABITAT

Arid or semi-arid grassland with bushes and small trees, usually up to about 3,300 ft (1,000 m) above sea level.

Macronyx ameliae I Resident

BEHAVIOR

Territorial when breeding, otherwise often in family groups or parties. Rather shy; frequently perches on trees or bushes, wagging tail. Displays by fluttering up and then gliding to ground, showing yellow in spread wings and tail. Migratory; marked influxes during rains.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insectivorous, taking prey from ground or grass stems.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Breeds November through May, during rains. Nest is a cup of grass and stems, lined rootlets, hidden low in a bush; lays two to four eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened; sometimes locally abundant after rains.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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