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14-14.8 cm (5¬Ĺ-6 in). A smallish pipit.
Sexes similar. Juveniles with whitish feather edges on upperparts and more buff below.
 Similar species
Short-billed Pipit has less bold streaks on back, wider breast streak and a prominent malar stripe. Paramo Pipit has more buff upperparts with darker streaks, and darker underparts with less extensive and paler streaks.
Three subspecies recognized:
Recent DNA studies suggest that the nominate subspecies and brasilianus may be distinctive enough to represent two separate species.
Found in grassland. Often in moist puna in the western part of its range up to 3700 m, in rocky hillsides, pastures and agricultural land in the eastern parts of its range, up to 750 m, locally higher.
Picks insect from the ground or from short vegetation in grassland.
Breeding season November to January in Bolivia. The male makes a short display-flight, climbing up vertically while singing and then making a spiralling descent in wide circles with wings held high. No more information about breeding.
The subspecies dabbenei migrates north in the austral winter. Other subspecies are resident.
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