Water Pipit

Water Pipit


Profile Water Pipit     Literature page Water

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Motacillidae | [latin] Anthus spinoletta | [UK] Water Pipit | [FR] Pipit spioncelle | [DE] Wasserpieper | [ES] Bisbita Alpina | [IT] Spioncello marino | [NL] Waterpieper

Waterpieper determination

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Size and structure as Rock Pipit except for slightly longer tail and legs and slightly shorter bill, bare part colors and flight as Rock Pipit. Plumage differs in less-streaked or plain underparts in spring and summer, white outer tail-feathers, and almost white underwing.

Nesting habitat is arctic tundra or alpine meadows of higher mountains. Winter habitat includes plowed fields, hay fields, winter wheat fields, old corn fields, cowpea, wet pastures, prairie, old fields, marshes, and occasionally dune or beach.

Anthus spinoletta has a fragmented breeding distribution in mountainous areas of
central and southern Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global
breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>640,000 pairs), and was
stable between 1970-1990. Although the species declined in certain countries (notably
Russia) during 1990-2000, populations were stable across most of its range-including
sizeable ones in Switzerland and Romania-and it probably declined slightly overall.

Feeds on ground among tide wrack and rocks, rarely making short pursuits to catch insects in flight, frequently wades in sea water, following waves as thet retreat.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 1,500,000-4,200,000 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]

Nest site is in side of steep bank or hollow, well concealed by overhanging vegetation, sometimes at end of short tunnel. Nest is a cup of grass stems and leaves, and moss, with slight lining of finer leaves and a few hairs, building by female. 4-6 eggs, incubation 14-15 days by female only.

Winters to Mediterranean, n Africa, Arabia e to nw India and se Asia. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 25 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 27 cm
  4. size min.: 15 cm
  5. size max.: 18 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 14 days
  8. incubation max.: 15 days
  9. fledging min.: 14 days
  10. fledging max.: 15 days
  11. broods 2
  12. eggs min.: 4
  13. eggs max.: 6
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Waterpieper status Least Concern


  1. Anthus spinoletta blakistoni
  2. Anthus spinoletta coutellii
  3. Anthus spinoletta spinoletta
  4. Anthus spinoletta
  5. EU c, w, s
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