Status: One of the commonest bird species in Ireland, favouring rough pastures and uplands.
Conservation Concern: Previously Green-listed, though Red-listed in Ireland since 2014, following sharp breeding declines thought to be a result of the unusually severe winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. Populations have shown signs of significant recovery since. The European population is considered to be Secure.
Identification: A very non-descript bird when seen in the field. Meadow Pipits are brown above with black streaking on a white breast and belly. The beak and legs are pinkish. It looks very similar to a Skylark, but that species is slightly larger than a Meadow Pipit and has a broad white stripe above the eye. Rock Pipit is dark grey on the back and has much denser dark streaking on the breast.
Similar Species: Skylark and Rock Pipit.
Call: A rapid “vist-vist-vist” call is given when alarmed or flushed from cover. Performs a short song flight from a post, which acts as a song. The bird flies straight up, before parachuting back down to the original post.
Diet: Feeds on Invertebrates such as craneflies, mayflies and spiders and to a lesser extent on seeds.
Breeding: Very widespread breeding species in Ireland, with around 500,000 to 1,000,000 pairs. Found in bogs, uplands and areas of scrub and pasture.
Wintering: Generally sedentary, but moves to lowland areas from breeding sites in uplands. Significant numbers of European birds move to Ireland in winter.
Where to See: Common throughout Ireland.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey and BirdTrack.