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Australian Pipit - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Neil Fifer
Sydney, Australia, April 2004
Anthus australis

Identification

Brown head and upperparts, streaked darker, prominent white eyebrow. White underparts, streaked brown on the breast and the outer tail feathers are white.

Distribution

Australia and New Guinea.

Taxonomy

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.

Subspecies[1]

  • A. n. exiguus:
  • Grasslands of central New Guinea (Mount Hagen to upper Watut River)
  • A. n. rogersi:
  • A. n. bilbali:
  • A. n. australis (subaustralis):
  • A. n. bistriatus:

Habitat

Rough grasslands, sand dunes and rocky terrain. Avoids agricultural areas.

Behaviour

Movement

Has the distinctive habit of flicking its long tail up and down. Long legs, jerky walk and often flies a short distance.

Diet

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.

Breeding

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.

Vocalisation

The common call is a shrill scree or drawn out zwee.

References

  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/Clements%206.5.xls/view

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