Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Meadow Pipit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Motacillidae | [latin] Anthus pratensis | [UK] Meadow Pipit | [FR] Pitpit farlouse | [DE] Wiesenpieper | [ES] Bisbita Comun | [NL] Graspieper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Anthus pratensis EU w n AF
Anthus pratensis pratensis
Anthus pratensis whistleri

Physical charateristics

The Meadow Pipit looks like a Song Thrush, but is only slightly larger than a Great Tit.

The male and female Meadow Pipits are alike. Typically, the upperparts are grey to olive-brown in colour with darker streaks. The underparts are pale grey or buff coloured with bold streaks and spots on the breast and flanks. The belly and outer tail feathers are white. The legs are a dull pink.

Juvenile Meadow Pipits are pinkish-buff and lack the dark streaks on the flanks.

The Tree Pipit is very similar to the Meadow Pipit, but its general appearance is cleaner with more distinct markings, the legs are a paler pink and the hind claw is much shorter

Listen to the sound of Meadow Pipit

[audio: Pipit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 22 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 15 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : West


Breeds in middle, upper middle, and upper latitudes of west Palearctic, from temperate through boreal to fringe of arctic climatic zones, and from continental to oceanic regimes, accepting rainy, windy, and chilly conditions, but avoiding ice and prolonged snow cover as well as torrid and arid areas, within rather narrow temperature range of 10-20 degrees.
Eurasian mainland chooses, as a ground-dweller, open areas of rather low fairly complete vegetation cover. Avoids extensive bare rock, stones, sand, soil, and close-cropped grass of herbage, and on the other hand tall dense vegetation, including woods, telegraph wires, stone walls, and other points of vantage.


Onset of laying affected by temperature in last third of March, becoming later with increasing altitude and latitude.
April-August in central and western Europe, April-May in Britain, June-July in Swedish Lapland.
Nest site is on ground, usually concealed in vegetation. Nest, cup of grasses and other plant material, lined finer vegetation and hair, building by female. Clutch size 3-5 eggs incubated for 11-15 days by female only.

Feeding habits

Diet based on invertebrates, with some plant seeds in autumn and winter. Feeds almost exclusively on ground, walking at steady rate picking invertebrates from leaves and plant stems.
Occasionally takes insects in flight which it has disturbed but never flies after them.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Anthus pratensis is a widespread breeder across much of central and northern Europe,
which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population
is very large (>7,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there
were declines in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Sweden during
1990-2000, the species was stable or increased across most of its European range?
including in Norway and Russia?and probably declined only slightly overall.

Meadow Pipit status Least Concern


Winters from British Isles, continental Europe and s Russia s to n Africa, Near East and Iraq. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)

Distribution map

Meadow Pipit distribution range map

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