RSPB
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Conservation status: Amber

A small, brown, streaky bird, it is the commonest songbird in upland areas and its high, piping call is a familiar sound. In flight it shows white outer tail feathers and in the breeding season it has a fluttering 'parachute' display flight. In winter they are quite gregarious and gather in small flocks, often invisible among the vegetation, suddenly flying up with typical jerky flight.

Meadow pipit numbers in the UK have been declining since the mid-1970s, resulting in this species being included on the amber list of conservation concern.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Anthus pratensis

Family

Pipits and wagtails (Motacillidae)

Where to see them

Found across the UK but commonest in the west and north. In winter it moves south, to more lowland areas and becomes much commoner in the southern half of the UK. Found in open country - upland moors to saltmarshes in summer, more agricultural land and marshes in winter. Will even come to suburban parks and playing fields.

When to see them

All year round. In summer most common in upland areas which become deserted in winter as birds move to more lowland habitats, some migrating to Continental Europe.

What they eat

Insects - flies, beetles and moths - and spiders

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-2,000,000 territories--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Ruud van Beusekom, Xeno-canto