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American Pipit Anthus rubescens


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American Pipit, summer
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Motacillidae, Wagtails and Pipits view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has grayish upperparts with faint streaking on back; darkish wings show two whitish wing bars and pale margins to tertials. Underparts are buffy and heavily streaked, also note the dark malar stripe and buff supercilium. Legs are typically dark. ADULT WINTER Has more heavily streaked gray back with a pale throat and supercilium; heavily streaked underparts have buff wash confined mostly to flanks. JUVENILE More heavily marked than adult.

Dimensions Length: 6-7" (15-18 cm)

Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to tundra and bare mountaintops. Winters in southern U.S. and Mexico, favoring arable fields and open country.

Observation Tips Easiest to see in winter.

Range Eastern Canada, Florida, Plains, Northwest, Alaska, California, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Western Canada, Southeast, New England, Texas, Southwest

Voice Song (often given in flight) is a slightly accelerating series of tinkling tlee-tlee-tleeÖ notes; call is a thin p'peet.

Discussion Slim-looking pipit that forms large flocks in winter. Often bobs tail. Plumage varies throughout year and across geographical range, and Arctic breeders are described below. Sexes are similar.