Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Motacillidae | [latin] Anthus cervinus | [UK] Red-throated Pipit | [FR] Pitpit a gorge rousse | [DE] Rotkehl-Pieper | [ES] Bisbita de Garganta Roja | [NL] Roodkeelpieper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Anthus cervinus EU n, ne OR, AF
Anthus cervinus cervinus
Anthus cervinus rufogularis

Physical charateristics

A small, sleek, streaked, brownish but quite robust pipit, with bulk approaching Olive-backed Pipit, and colorful, changing plumage patterns.
Ccombination of little-marked face, broadly streaked upperparts and buff underparts with large spotted chest and flanks creates darker.
Male less streaked below with variable pink or red-buff suffusion on face, throat, and even chest, producing diagnostic appearance.
Summer female may resemble male but usually has less pink and more streaks below.
Rather short bill, usually brown legs, and long hind claw form useful characters.

Listen to the sound of Red-throated Pipit

[audio: Pipit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 23 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 11 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : North, Northeast


Arctic and subarctic, between isotherms of 2-15 C degrees, north of forest limits and mainly on shrubby or mossy tundra, although locally in Scandinavia up to 1000 m, and near water in swamps of willow and birch.
Near settlements will adapt to drained and cultivated land, as well as damp grassy flats.


May at southern extent of range, June-July further north. Nest site is built on ground in side of hummock or bank, or sheltered by low scrub. Sometimes at end of short tunnel in mossy hummock. Nest is hollow in moss or ground, filled with cup of grass leaves and stems, with some moss and dead leaves in base, minimal lining of finer grass, hair, and some feathers. Clutch size 5-7 eggs, which are incubated 11-14 days by female only.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects, also small water snails and a few seeds. Feeds on ground by pecking and probing amongst vegetation. On seashore, probes amongst washed up seaweed
After capture, largest prey items are vigorously pounded on ground before swallowing. In summer feeds most actively from late morning to late afternoon.


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 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 cervinus is a widespread summer visitor to northern Fennoscandia and Russia,
with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its
European breeding population is very large (>1,000,000 pairs), and was stable between
1970-1990. The relatively small populations in Sweden and Finland declined during
1990-2000, whereas the trend for the Russian stronghold was unknown, but there
was no evidence to suggest that its status deteriorated significantly.

Red-throated Pipit status Least Concern


Winters widely to the south in n,c Africa, Canary Islands, Near East, Arabia, s,se Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines; one record in Australia. Fall vagrant records in Calif. and w Mexico. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)

Distribution map

Red-throated Pipit distribution range map

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