Upland Pipit

Upland Pipit  Anthus sylvanus      


  • Anthus : Based on Greek mythology. Anthus, son of Antinous and Hippodamia, was killed by his father’s horses and metamorphosed into a bird which imitated the neighing of horses but fled at their sight
  • Sylvanus: Latin word for off the woods derived from silva – woodland

 Vernacular Names: Pun: Paharicharchari

Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas in India.

Description: Size of 17 cm; wt. of 18·7 g.  It is a large, streaked pipit with stout, relatively short bill. It has a creamy supercilium, indistinct dark moustachial stripe and malar stripe. It is grey-brown above, mantle and scapulars more buffy and boldly streaked blackish-brown. The wing feathers with narrow sandy edges; tail is dark grey-brown, outer three feather pairs with pale wedge on inner webs, outer two pairs with mostly whitish outer webs. The upper throat and belly are buffish-white, rest of underparts are pale buff. It has prominent blackish-brown streaks on breast and flanks, fine streaks on undertail-coverts; iris is dark brown; upper mandible is blackish, lower mandible is pale pinkish with dark tip; legs are pale pinkish. Both the sexes are alike. The juvenile has prominent pale buffish feather tips and edges above, giving scaly appearance, whiter underparts with paler streaks. In breeding season it is found on steep rocky and grassy slopes with scattered bushes or rocks, also on abandoned terrace cultivation.

Habitat: It is found in breeding season from 1200 m –3000 m. In winter, it is found at lower elevations down to 900 m.

Food habits: It eats small invertebrates. It feeds on the ground, creeping in horizontal posture. When disturbed, often adopts upright stance and makes tail-flicking movements.

Breeding habits: They breed in Mar–Jul in Himalayas. They have a brief song flight, rising a short distance and then parachuting downwards on partly spread wings. The nest is a cup of coarse grass, lined with finer grass, well hidden under tuft of grass or rock. They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs. The nest is parasitized by Common Cuckoo.