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Richard's pipit (Anthus richardi) is a medium-sized passerine bird which breeds in open grasslands in northern Asia. It is a long-distance migrant moving to open lowlands in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is a rare but regular vagrant to western Europe.
A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or — less accurately — as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching. With more than 110 families and some 5,100 identified species, Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates.
The passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, and the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous, while the shrikes are carnivorous.
The terms “passerine” and “Passeriformes” are derived from Passer domesticus, the scientific name of the eponymous species (the House Sparrow) and ultimately from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.
noun a thing on which a bird alights or roosts, typically a branch or a horizontal rod or bar in a birdcage.
• a place where someone or something rests or sits, especially one that is high or precarious: Marian looked down from her perch in a beech tree above the road.
verb [no OBJ., with ADVERBIAL OF PLACE] (of a bird) alight or rest on something: a herring gull perched on the rails for most of the crossing.
The genus name Anthus is the Latin name for a small bird of grasslands. The English name and richardi are for the French naturalist Charles Richard (1745–1835), director of postal services at Lunéville and friend of Francois Levaillant.
It belongs to the pipit genus Anthus in the family Motacillidae. It was formerly lumped together with the Australasian, African, mountain and paddyfield pipits in a single species: Richard's pipit, Anthus novaeseelandiae. These pipits are now commonly considered to be separate species although the African and paddyfield pipits are sometimes treated as part of A. richardi.
Distribution and habitat
Richard's pipit breeds in southern Siberia, Mongolia, parts of Central Asia and in northern, central and eastern China. It migrates south to winter in the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia with records as far south as Sri Lanka, Singapore and northern Borneo. It is a scarce passage migrant in Korea and Japan.
A small part of the population regularly moves west in autumn and birds have been recorded from most countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
It is seen annually between September and November at coastal watchpoints in areas such as Britain, the Netherlands and Scandinavia with occasional birds appearing in spring. A few overwinter in countries like Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
Range map from www.oiseaux.net - Ornithological Portal Oiseaux.net
www.oiseaux.net is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there
This is a large pipit, 17–20 cm in length, with a weight of 25–36 g and a wingspan of 29 to 33 cm. It is a slender bird which often stands very upright. It has long yellow-brown legs, a long tail with white outer-feathers and a long dark bill with a yellowish base to the lower mandible.
The hindclaw is long and fairly straight. It is an undistinguished-looking species on the ground, mainly brown above and pale below. There are dark streaks on the upperparts and breast while the belly and flanks are plain.
The face is strongly marked with pale lores and supercilium and dark eyestripe, moustachial stripe and malar stripe. There are two wingbars formed by pale tips to the wing-coverts.
There is some variation between the different subspecies. A. r. sinensis is slightly smaller than the nominate race with less streaking above. A. r. centralasiae is larger with more sand-coloured upperparts. A. r. dauricus has more streaking above.
Its flight is strong and undulating, and it gives a characteristic explosive "shreep" call, somewhat similar to the chirp of a House Sparrow. The song is a repeated series of monotonous buzzy notes given in an undulating song-flight.
Some care must be taken to distinguish this from other large pipits which winter or are resident in the area, such as Blyth's pipit and paddyfield pipit. Blyth's pipit has a shorter bill, legs and tail, a shorter and more curved hindclaw, less white on the tail and more streaking on the upperparts.
In adult birds, the median wing-coverts have blunt-ended dark centres whereas in Richard's pipit the dark centres become pointed towards the tip of the feather. The call of Blyth's pipit call is quieter and less harsh. Paddyfield pipit is smaller than Richard's pipit with a shorter bill and tail, less streaking on the breast and a quieter call.
Unfortunately missed the first three strophes of the song, which were shorter (3-4 syllables), thus strophes grew gradually in length before climaxing with long part given in flight.
Behaviour and ecology
It is a bird of open country, particularly flat lowland areas. It inhabits grassland, steppe and cultivated land, preferring more fertile, moist habitats. In Europe it is most often recorded on headlands and islands. It occurs alone or in small groups.
Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous. It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten.
The nest is made of grass or moss and is built on the ground under a grass tussock.
Least concern (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2013: e.T22718471A50429016.
doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T22718471A50429016.en. Retrieved 27 August 2016.