Thursday, 20 December 2012

Buff-Bellied Pipit (Anthus rubescens)

OTHER NAMES: American Pipit
Latin Etymology: Anthus (a small bird mentioned by Pliny) rubescens ("reddish")
Adult Buff-bellied Pipit (probable subspecies A. r. rubescens) at Queen Mother Reservoir, London - December 2012

Featured Subspecies: Anthus rubescens rubescens (?)
Weight: 21g  /  Length: 14-17cm  /  Wingspan: 24cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

I will state at this point, that ordinarily, endearing as this little fellow is, I don't have any interest in twitching hyper-rare small brown birds.  However, in this case, as its presence had caused the Queen Mother Reservoir, which normally has no access to be open to the public (and thus allow me to try and see the Red-necked Grebe it was also hosting) I made an exception, and he proved far more obliging than the Grebe which I failed to see at all.

Anyway, the Buff-Bellief (or American) Pipit is basically the local version of the Water and Rock Pipits found in the UK.  It itself is not only found in the Americas as the alternate name suggests, but also Japan and other parts of temperate East Asia.  This individual probably got blown from Greenland or Eastern America, and the species in general has less than 20 records in the UK in 100 years, making it by far the rarest species I've photographed in the UK so far.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Anthus
Subspecies: A. r. japonicus, A. r. pacificus, A. r. rubescens, A. r. alticola

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Ultra rare vagrant
 - Vagrant bird seen on Queen Mother Reservoir (1 adult in 2012).  .

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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