Olive-backed Tree Pipit or Hodgson’s Anthus hodgsoni

The Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni, is a small passerine bird of the pipit (Anthus) genus, which breeds across South, north Central and East Asia, as well as in the northeast of European Russia.

It is a long-distance migrant moving in winter to southern Asia and Indonesia.

Sometimes it is also called Indian, or Hodgson’s, Tree Pipit, owing to the resemblance with the Tree Pipit.

However, its back is more olive-toned and less streaked than that species, and its head pattern is different with a better-marked supercilium (line above eye).

The scientific name of this bird commemorates the British ornithologist Brian Houghton Hodgson.

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Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni
Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni

Distribution

  • Summer: from Himalayan India, westward through Nepal, into China, north to Gansu province, and eastwards through Korea to Japan, and north through north Central Asia into north-eastern Europe (European Russia). Occasionally a rare vagrant in western Europe. Breeds up to 4500m in eastern Nepal.
  • Winter: Broad southern region across Asia, from peninsular India, east to southeast Asia and the Philippines.
  • Habitat: Affects open country. Wintering in evergreen woodland, Summers in groves and wooded biotope.
Olive-backed Pipits

Description

  • Size: Sparrow+ (ca. 15cm)
  • Appearance: Greenish brown streaked with darker brown above. Supercilium (line above eye), double wingbar and outer rectrices (= the long flight feathers of the tail) are whitish. Whitish to buff below streaked with dark brown on breast and flanks. Sexes alike.
  • Habits: Seen singly or pairs. Runs about on the ground in search of food and flies up into trees when disturbed. Flight jerky and undulating.
  • Call: Song lark-like and uttered on the wing, similar to the Tree Pipit, but faster and higher pitched. A single tseep or spek, also similar to the Tree Pipit.
  • Food: Mostly insects, but will also take grass and weed seeds.

Nesting

  • Season: May to July.
  • Nest: a cup of moss and grass placed on the ground under a tuft of grass or boulder. open woodland and scrub.
  • Eggs: 3-5, usually 4. The color is dark brown, spotted darker. Usually two broods are raised.
Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni
Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni

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