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Brown head and upperparts, streaked darker, prominent white eyebrow. White underparts, streaked brown on the breast and the outer tail feathers are white.
This species was formerly a part of a much larger species called Anthus novaseelandiae which was split in African Pipit, Mountain Pipit, Paddyfield Pipit, Richard's Pipit, New Zealand Pipit and Australian Pipit. Some authorities still consider it conspecific with New Zealand Pipit.
Rough grasslands, sand dunes and rocky terrain. Avoids agricultural areas.
Has the distinctive habit of flicking its long tail up and down. Long legs, jerky walk and often flies a short distance.
The diet is mainly invertebrates, especially beetles (including grass grubs), wasps, flies, spiders, crickets, moths and bugs, insect larvae and pupae and sandhoppers. They also take seeds of grasses, clover and weeds.
Some pairs remain on territory all year and breed year after year. The female builds the bulky grass nest with a deep cup, which is usually well hidden at the base of a clump of grass, tussock, bracken fern, Manuka bush, or on the side of a bank. Between August and February 2-3 clutches of 2-5 cream eggs, heavily blotched brown with a darker zone at the broader end are laid. The female incubates for 14-15 days and both parents feed the nestlings which fledge at 14-16 days old.
The common call is a shrill scree or drawn out zwee.
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