Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Identification !!!

Tree Pipit and Meadow Pipit (double click to enlarge)

With thanks to David Crawshaw for this great photo of the two species together taken in Suffolk recently. Really good to see them together for comparison

I don't know about anyone else but I find identification of Tree Pipit (without call or song) very difficult especially with Meadow Pipit plumage so variable towards the autumn. Spring and summer song of both birds is quite different so with practise they are quite easy to tell apart. Also the contact/flight call of each is quite different.
However, identification (I find) can be tricky, especially in autumn, on their own when they perch in a tree or small bush as M P's occasionally do !
There are a couple at least, of good pointers here (though not always easy to see in the field). Meadow Pipit has a very long hind claw and lower mandible colour is different in each species.
There are other differences with the bill, flank streaks and white,rather than buff belly on the Tree Pipit but again in the field these are not always easy to see.
Does anyone else struggle with these two???


martynbirder said...

yes they can be tricky Dave, all Pipits are, remember the Water Pipit at Gorple? Having damaged hearing I can rarely hear them so have to rely on sight alone. I find that Tree Pipit usually looks cleaner and paler with the median coverts looking much brighter and the streaking below finer. If they (TP) are pumping their tale that also helps but some can be very hard. Holy Island again this weekend so maybe an Olive-backed with a bit of luck

ChrisJB said...

I like to use the 'necklace' differences on the wings too.


Steve Blacksmith said...

Thanks Dave, I can only do them on song and behaviour while singing.
Better informed now !