Australasian Pipit

Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
16cm
Maximum Size: 
18cm
Average size: 
17cm
Average weight: 
26g
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
647
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Australasian Pipit is a well-camoflaged brown ground-dwelling bird. It has darker brown streaks above, and has pale creamy white stripes on the eyebrows and below the cheeks. The underparts are creamy white, spotted and streaked dark on the breast. The wings and tail are dark brown, with the outermost tail feathers white. The eye is brown and the bill and feet are pale pink-grey. Seen on the ground in open country, this species often wags its tail up and down while foraging. It was previously called Richard's Pipit.

Similar species: 

The Australasian Pipit resembles the introduced Skylark, Alauda arvensis, and is adapted to a similar ecological niche, with both species being well-camoflaged birds that forage on the ground. The Australasian Pipit lacks the Skylark's small crest and has more creamy white underparts and eyebrows.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Australasian Pipit is found across Australia. It is also found in New Guinea, New Zealand, as well as being widespread across Africa and Asia.

Habitat: 

Australasian Pipits are found in open country, in a range of habitat types from wet heaths to dry shrublands and open woodland clearings.

Seasonal movements: 

Some altitudinal migration in winter, and Tasmanian birds move to the mainland.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Australasian Pipits feed on the ground on insects and their larvae, as well as seeds. They forage in a jerky, darting motion, stopping to perch on low stones or shrubs, wagging their tails up and down.

Breeding: 

Australasian Pipits form breeding pairs after an elaborate courtship ritual, with males making swooping dives from a height, accompanied by a sweet trilling song. The nest is a depression in the ground, sometimes sheltered by a grass tussock, stone or piece of wood, and lined with grasses and hairs. The female incubates the eggs and feeds the young.

Living with us

The Australasian Pipit colonises newly clearly ground quite quickly.

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