Meadow Pipit

Anthus pratensis

Riabhóg Mhóna

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.

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