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African Pipit - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Grassland Pipit

Photo by Leon
Potchefstroom, South Africa, June 2004
Anthus cinnamomeus

Includes: Cameroon Pipit


15 to 17 cm

  • Buff-brown streaky upperparts
  • White or pale buff underparts
  • Streaked breast
  • Unstreaked belly and flanks
  • Boldly patterned face; pale eyestripe, dark malar stripe
  • Whitish outer tail-feathers
  • Long pink legs
  • Slender dark bill with a yellowish base to the lower mandible

Juvenile birds have a blotched breast, scalloping on the upperparts and some streaking on the flanks.

Similar Species

Long-billed Pipit, which has buff outer tail and a sparrow-like call.


This is the most common Pipit in eastern and southern Africa.
Western Africa: Mauritania, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Swaziland
Middle East: Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen


This species was formerly regarded a part of a much larger species called Anthus novaseelandiae which was split in African Pipit, Mountain Pipit, Paddyfield Pipit, Richard's Pipit and Australasian Pipit.


More than ten subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • A. c. lynesi:
  • A. c. camaroonensis:
  • Cameroon (Mount Cameroon and Mount Manenguba)
  • A. c. stabilis:
  • A. c. cinnamomeus:
  • Highlands of western and south-eastern Ethiopia
  • A. c. eximius:
  • A. c. annae:
  • A. c. itombwensis:
  • Eastern Zaire (Itombwe Highlands and Mount Kabobo)
  • A. c. lacuum:
  • A. c. lichenya:
  • A. c. spurius:
  • A. c. bocagei:
  • A. c. grotei:
  • A. c. rufuloides:

Some authors split camaroonensis from Cameroon as Cameroon Pipit.
Jackson's Pipit is sometimes included as a subspecies in this species.


Open habitats at altitudes of up to over 3000 m, grasslands and fields.


It has an undulating flight and can often be seen perching on posts and bushes. On the ground it walks with a strutting gait and often holds itself very erect.


The song is a repeated series of twittering notes, given during an undulating song-flight or from a low perch.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Birdforum thread discussing id of an African Pipit
  4. Wikipedia

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