Saturday, 26 November 2016

Bird of the week - Rock pipit

The rock pipit is a shore bird but stays away from the waves, preferring to search around rocks and seaweed for insects to eat.  It is brown with a slightly olive tinge, perhaps more than is shown in these photos.

Because rock pipits like rocky shores it is easy to predict their distribution.  We are at the southern end of their breeding range on the eastern side of the country but some move farther south in winter.

In Thomas Bewick's day the pipits seem to have been classified with larks and he called it the field lark or rock lark.  He included it in his first book A History of British Birds (1797) and not in volume II which dealt with water birds.

I'm pretty sure this is the same bird as our rock pipit as he writes:

The rock pipit is Anthus petrosus.  In French it is Pipit maritime.  You can watch a BTO video on rock pipit identification here.  And listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on rock pipit here.

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