Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit

In recent weeks I have ringed two Buff-bellied Pipits Anthus rubescens japonicus in Beit-Shean Valley. This species was discovered for first time in Israel by Hadoram Shirihai, back in 1981. The first records were considered to be of an 'unusual Water Pipit', according to the very limited literature available back then, and the true identity was revealed only in 1984 by Shirihai and Alstrom. This pipit breeds in central and eastern Siberia and winters in Japan and E Asia, and also, in small number, in the Middle East. It's smaller than Water Pipit, between Meadow and Water pipits. Leg colour is reddish-brown and not black like Water Pipit. Upperparts are uniformly dark greyish olive-brown and unstreaked. It has bold breast streaking, very close to Meadow pipit, unlike coutelli Water Pipit that is the common form in the Middle East. The moult strategy and ageing are very similar to other pipits, the post-juvenile moult is very limited, including only LC (n=3), and ageing is done by MC pattern and wear.

Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens japonicus - juvenile