Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

Olive-backed Pipit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Motacillidae | [latin] Anthus hodgsoni | [UK] Olive-backed Pipit | [FR] Pitpit de Chine | [DE] Waldpieper | [ES] Bisbita de Hodgson | [NL] Groene Boompieper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Anthus hodgsoni EU c, e OR
Anthus hodgsoni hodgsoni
Anthus hodgsoni yunnanensis

Physical charateristics

Small but sleek pipit, with behaviour most recalling Tree Pipit. Upperparts noticeably pale green-olive, with only faintly streaked back and plain rump; underparts noticeably clean, with ground-colour mainly white and beautifully decorated with evenly spread lines of large black spots. Face also well marked, with broad pale buff fore and white rear supercilium and (on most) white and black rear cheek spots. Bill rather small; black-horn above, flesh- or buff-horn below. Legs flesh-pink; feet with short hind claw like Tree Pipit.

Listen to the sound of Olive-backed Pipit

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/O/Olive-backed Pipit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 26 cm wingspan max.: 28 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Central, East


For breeding occupies large slot in upper middle and middle latitudes broadly below range of Pechora Pipit and complementing (with extensive overlap) that of Tree Pipit, which covers nearly all corresponding part of west Palearctic, from boreal through temperate zones to subtropics. Northern population spreads through coniferous taiga forest, mainly in its sparser sections and at its edges along river banks and on fringes of bogs and marshes, but also in birchwoods, alder thickets, and larch groves. In winter, in south-east Asia, resorts to coffee plantations, mango groves, and other suitable wooded terrain; also found on ground under trees at forest edge, on forest footpaths, and along shady highways or on outskirts of villages.


Breeding in Western Siberia from June-August. Normally two broods. Nest is built on ground, in shelter of rock or tuft of vegetation. Nest is a shallow depression containing cup of moss and grass, lined with fine grass and hair. Clutch size 4-5 eggs and an incubatin period of 12-13 days. The young leave the nest at 11-12 days and are fed for at least 1-2 days further, by which time they can fly.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects in summer and seeds in winter. Feeds on ground amongst low herbage. In Philippines in winter, frequently feeds in pines, walking along branches probing for insects among needles and cones.


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to 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 hodgsoni has a predominantly Asian distribution, but its breeding range
extends just west of the Urals into north-east European Russia. Its European breeding
population is relatively small (<50,000 pairs), but was stable between 1970-1990. No trend data were available for the Russian population during 1990-2000, but there was no evidence to suggest that its status had deteriorated significantly since 1990.

Olive-backed Pipit status Least Concern


Winters from India, s China, s Japan, Taiwan and se Asia s to Greater Sunda Is. and Philippines. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)

Distribution map

Olive-backed Pipit distribution range map

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