- Anthus spinoletta
15–17 cm (6-6¾ in)
- More or less unstreaked underparts
- Vinous flush on breast
- Greyish unmarked mantle and head
- Completely white outer web on outer tail feathers
In winter, Water Pipits are browner than Rock Pipits with much clearer, whiter more sharply and lightly streaked underparts, less streaked mantles and more strikingly pale wing-bars. The supercilium tends to be the dominant facial feature, (eye-ring in Rock Pipit). Water Pipits often have black legs but many wintering birds do have pale legs. The completely white outer web to the outer tail feathers of a Water Pipit should rule out most Rock Pipits, though to be 100% certain, there is a white tip to the second outermost tail feather which is never more than small and off white in even the palest, most bleached littoralis Rock Pipit.
Length of hind claw in Water Pipit is variable, so a long-clawed bird does not have to be a Meadow Pipit (contra some field guides).
There are 3 subspecies:
- A. s. spinoletta:
- A. s. coutellii:
- A. s. blakistoni:
- North-eastern Afghanistan to Transbaikalia and Nan Shan Mountains
It breeds in mountain meadows, and winters on coasts, estuaries, marshes, flooded fields and water margins.
A dipping flight. Hops or runs.
The diet includes insects and larvae.
The clutch consists of 4 - 5 eggs which are incubated by the female for 14-15 days. The young fledge after a further 15-16 days.
Call is a strong Zinc, subtly different to Rock Pipit's Fisst
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- BTO Bird Facts
- Birdforum thread discussing a long-clawed Water Pipit
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Water Pipit. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 9 May 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Water_Pipit