Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

The Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) is a small passerine bird which breeds across most of Europe and temperate western and central Asia. It is a long-distance migrant moving in winter to Africa and southern Asia.

Distribution / Range

This is a small pipit, which resembles Meadow Pipit.

This is an undistinguished looking species, streaked brown above and with black markings on a white belly and buff breast below. It can be distinguished from the slightly smaller Meadow Pipit by its heavier bill and greater contrast between its buff breast and white belly. Tree Pipits more readily perch in trees.

Calls / Vocalizations

The call is a strong spek. Unlike the weak call of its relative. The song flight is unmistakable. The bird rises a short distance up from a tree, and then parachutes down on stiff wings, the song becoming more drawn out towards the end.

Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis

Breeding / Nesting

The breeding habitat is open woodland and scrub. The nest is on the ground, with 4–8 eggs being laid.

Diet / Feeding

This species is insectivorous, like its relatives, but will also take seeds.

Status in England

They have decreased in population by 85% in the last 20 years.

Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis


  • mid-September to mid-April: lives in sub Saharan Africa
  • mid April to beginning of May: migrates and arrives in countries such as the United Kingdom
  • beginning of May to August: breeding season, two broods
  • August to mid September: flies back to Saharan Africas

Management and conservation

They breed in habitats with a wooded component, including Lowland heath and coppice. They are found mostly in open birch woodland on the boundary with moorland, or open structured oak woodland – therefore heavy thining is required to produce a gappy character. They prefer low canopy medium sized trees, where low growing scrub and bramble less than 2 metre his is low and horizontal visibility is relatively high. They like a mosaic of grass and bracken, but not very grazed short turf, so light to moderate grazing is preferred, glades are also valuable. Streams are preferred.

Once they have arrived they nest on the ground amongst grass or heather tussocks. They forage on invertebrates found in the ground vegetation.

They need scattered trees as song perches

Grant funding for Conservation

The Forestry Commission offers grants under a scheme called England’s Woodland Improvement Grant (EWIG); as does Natural Englands Environmental Stewardship Scheme.

Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
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Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
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