Redthroated pipit

Anthus cervinus

TAXONOMY

Motacilla cervinus Pallas, 1811, Kolmya, Siberia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Pipit a gorge rousse; German: Rotkehlpieper; Spanish: Bisbita Gorgirrojo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.7-5.9 in (14.5-15 cm); 0.6-1 oz (16.5-29 g). Upperparts are dark brown with black and whitish streaks on the back. Under-parts are buffy with dark streaks across the breast and onto the flanks. Wings are blackish with whitish bars and the tail is black with white outer tail feathers. In the breeding season, breeding males develop a reddish head, throat, and breast; the head and breast of females and nonbreeding males is duller.

DISTRIBUTION

Breeds in northern Scandinavia east through arctic Russia to Bering Strait and western Alaska; winters in east Africa south to Tanzania, Turkey, Middle East, and southeast China, southeast Asia, and northern Indonesia.

HABITAT

Shrubby or mossy tundra, and willow/birch swamps; also damp grassy flats. In winter, on short-grazed grassland, especially with mud or shallow water; also mudflats, ploughland and moorland.

BEHAVIOR

Territorial when breeding. In winter, often forms large, loose flocks. Often perches on rocks, bushes and fences. Male displays with horizontal or parachuting song flight.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages on the ground, probing amongst vegetation for insects. REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous; breeds May though August. Nest is a hollow (made by male) in moss or ground, with cup of grass, lined hair and feathers; female builds. Lays two to seven eggs; incubation is 11-14 days, by female; fledging after 11-15 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Locally abundant, but facing extinction in Finland; no major range changes recorded.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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