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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Meadow Pipit

Anthus pratensis

  • Family: Pipits and wagtails – Motacillidae
  • Appearance: A smallish, but lively and noisy bird found in open habitats. Plumage streaked on back and underparts, rump lacks any distinctive streaking. Resembles Tree Pipit, but has more slender beak, darker colouring on head, and long, almost straight claws on its back toes.
  • Size: Length 14–15.5 cm, weight 15–23 g.
  • Nest: Usually beside a grassy hummock, well concealed. Made of dry leaves, straw, moss and lichen, lined with finer dried grass.
  • Breeding: 4–6 eggs laid April–May, incubated by female for 12–15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 12–14 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in more open habitats than similar Tree Pipit, including arctic moorland, grassy shore meadows, pastures, fields and marshes. More common in northern regions. Finnish breeding population estimated at 500,000–750,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Mainly nocturnal. Leaves Finland September–October, returning April–May. Winters in Western and Central Europe and around the Mediterranean. Individuals may occasionally be seen in Finland during the winter.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A sharp, urgent “eest-ist-ist”, song longish and chirpy but uncomplicated.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in Finland. Also globally Near threatened.

The Meadow Pipit is the smallest of the pipits that breed in Finland. Their plumage is streaked all over, similar to that of the Red-throated Pipit, and brownish with a distinct greenish tinge on their upper parts and a less obvious yellowish tinge on the chest. One distinctive feature observable at close quarters is the long spur-like claw on the back toe of each foot, which is as long or longer than the back toe itself, and only slightly curved. Meadow Pipits have pale brown legs and their beaks are dark brown with a paler base. Their irises are dark brown. Their flight is also distinctive, with bounding rises and descents.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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