Noticeably long, slim pipit, with size, form and appearance suggesting pale wagtail. Long, rather fine bill and legs form useful characters.
Adult shows diagnostic combination of pale supercilium, virtually unstreaked chest, bold wing covert bars contrasting with indistinct markings on rest of upperparts, and tail broadly edged white.
Flight like wagtail, with less powerful action and slighter undulations than other large pipits.
In lower middle and middle continental latitudes, from Mediterranean and steppe through temperate zones, preferring dry but not arid ground.
Avoids steep or rocky terrain, water obstacles, tall or dense vegetation, from forest to wetland, cropland, or shrub growth.
Favoured habitats tend to be more frequent in sunny continental lowlands, but locally occur at 2.5 km in Armenia, and extralimitally even to 3.5 km in Balkhash region.
Anthus campestris is a fairly widespread summer visitor to much of Europe, which
accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding
population is very large (>1,000,000 pairs), but underwent a large decline between
1970-1990. Although trends were not available for key populations in Spain and
Russia during 1990-2000, the species declined across much of its European range-
including the sizeable population in Turkey-and probably underwent a moderate
decline (>10%) overall.
This pipit is breeding in a large part of Eurasia, from Spain to Mongolia, and is wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in the Sahel Region from Senegal to the Red Sea. The total population of the European Union amounts to 440.000-740.000 breeding pairs (Tucker & Heath), but since the mid-1960 this species has undergone a strong decrease and a contraction of its breeding area, even in Iberia, Italy and Greece where its populations remain nevertheless strong
Diet chiefly insects, also seeds, mainly in winter. Feeds on ground and amongst low herbage, taking insects in stop-run-peck manner like small plover, occasionally leaping up or rarely after brief aerial pursuit.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 2,100,000-3,900,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Breeding starts May-June in Western Europe, April in North Africa. Nest site on ground in shallow hollow, often under plant tuft.
Nest is a cup of grass stems and leaves, and roots, lined with finer plant material and hair. open side of nest usually faces east or north, building mainly by female.
Clutch size 4-5 eggs incubated for about 12 days by female only.
Essentially migratory. Within breeding range, wintering occurs only in Aegean region and locally in Turkey and Levant.
West Palearctic race winters in Africa and Arabia, eastern races in southern Afghanistan and India, with griseus also in Arabia.
West Palearctic race campestris in Africa, winters mainly in Sahel zone south of Sahara, but in the east, where southward movement not impeded by tree savanna or forest, normal range extends south almost to the equator.
East Palearctic races griseus, kastschenkoi and Kastschenkoi of central Asia winters only in N-E India.
- spanwidth min.: 25 cm
- spanwidth max.: 28 cm
- size min.: 16 cm
- size max.: 18 cm
- incubation min.: 11 days
- incubation max.: 13 days
- fledging min.: 13 days
- fledging max.: 14 days
- broods 2
- eggs min.: 3
- eggs max.: 6
- Conservation Status
- Anthus campestris griseus
- Anthus campestris kastschenkoi
- Anthus campestris campestris
- Anthus campestris
- EU c, w