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Richard’s Pipit
Anthus richardi

Passeriforme Order – Motacillidae Family

Length: 19 cm 
Wingspan: 29-33 cm
Weight: 21-38 g

LONGEVITY: Up to 5 years

Richard’s Pipit is the larger of the pipits.

Richard’s Pipit feeds mainly on insects, adults and larvae, such as beetles and grasshoppers, some caterpillars and spiders.
It may follow the livestock, taking some preys flushed by the cattle. 

Richard’s Pipit is common through its range, and this species is not threatened at this moment.

Fr: Pipit de Richard
All : Spornpieper
Esp : Bisbita de Richard

Photographs by Aurélien Audevard

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 9 - by Josep del Hoyo - Andrew Elliot - David Christie - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334695

BIRDS OF THE MIDDLE EAST by R.F. Porter, S. Christensen, P Schiermacker-Ansen C.Helm - ISBN: 0713670169

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

Wikipedia (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)


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Summary Cards


It has rather dark brown and buff, long, broad body, with strong bill, and long, stout, orange-flesh legs, fairly long toes with the rear toe armed with an unusually long claw.
Crown is streaked black, as back and breast. Wings show double pale buff wing bar, and tertials are edged with the same colour. Tail is bordered white.
The underparts are white, with buff lower throat, breast and flanks. Belly is white. We can see some fine dusky streaks on breast and upper flanks.
Legs are situated relatively far behind the body, giving the bird particular silhouette.

Both sexes are similar.
Juvenile has pale lores. On the upperparts, feathers are edged pale buff, giving scaled effect. Wing bars are duller than in adult. However, the underparts are much more streaked.  

We find several subspecies sharing the range: A.r. richardi; A.r. dauricus; A.r. centralasiae: A.r. ussuriensis and A.r. sinensis.
They slightly differ by the size and the colours.

Richard’s Pipit’s most typical call is a shrill “schriip”, loud and agonizing, or a long “schirrriip” given from the ground and repeated while flying over the territory. 
During the short flights, it utters softer “chirp” and “chup”.
It utters a monotonous song when rising in circles, before to be silent while flying down.

Richard’s Pipit breeds in low areas (usually below 1800 metres of elevation), or in the soft slopes of the steppes, in wet and sunny grassy or cultivated areas, but not arid.
During migration, it mainly frequents low areas with vegetation, grasslands, fields and marshes. It prefers areas near water. 

Richard’s Pipit winters among the local species, from Pakistan to India, China and Malaysia. Coming from Siberia where it breeds, it is a fairly regular autumn’s visitor, although rare.  

Richard’s Pipit is a long distance migrant. It travels as well by day as by night.
It feeds on invertebrates caught on the ground, by foraging among vegetation and picking into crevices and rocks. It may catch flying insects by hopping or while flying briefly.
It is often seen stand up, with waggling tail.
Courtship displays are poorly known, but Richard’s Pipit probably performs flight displays while singing, as most of Motacillidae.  

Richard’s Pipit rises in circles while singing, and becomes silent while flying down. It performs strong, undulating flight. It often perform flycatching before landing on the ground.    

Breeding season occurs between April and July.
Richard’s Pipit nests on the ground, in a large cup made with grass and roots. Interior is lined with soft materials, fine grass and hair. The nest is situated among tussocks, in a depression.

Female lays 3-4 eggs. Both parents share the incubation and rear the young.