[order] Passeriformes | [family] Motacillidae | [latin] Anthus gustavi | [UK] Pechora Pipit | [FR] Pipit de la Petchora | [DE] Petschorapieper | [ES] Bisbita del Pechora | [IT] Pispola della Pechora | [NL] Petsjorapieper

Petsjorapieper determination

copyright: Dave Jackson

Warm buff plumage sharply and copiously streaked, with no other markings showing at distance except for white belly and buff-white in outer tail-feathers; last lack cold and clean tone of tail-sides of other small pipits. Diagnostic marks apparent at close range include buff-white mantle-stripes, obvious pale double wing-bar, and fully streaked rump. Long thought difficult to identify, but well-marked bird actually the most decorated of small pipits occurring in west Palearctic, with warm, heavily streaked, and bright appearance. Flight consists of erratic bursts of wing-beats interspersed with short bounds, floats, and glides; somewhat hesitant progress thus recalls Meadow Pipit. Flight silhouette also recalls Meadow Pipit, with rather short, straight-sided tail suggesting juvenile of that species. Shy, skulking in dense cover such as long grass and centre of bush. Difficult to flush, escaping first in low flits, then in high flight.

Breeds from fringe of west Palearctic eastward along a mainly subarctic band, apparently sandwiched between Olive-backed Pipit to south and Red-throated Pipit to north. Inhabits bushy tundra and remote taiga swamps, but not pure tundra, apparently preferring overgrown areas with tall dense sedge, reed-grass, and plentiful shrubs or even trees, mainly in lowlands, along rivers and coasts.

Anthus gustavi has a predominantly Siberian breeding distribution, which extends just west of the Urals into northern European Russia. Its European breeding population is small (as few as 1,000 pairs), but was stable between 1970-1990. Trend data were not available during 1990-2000, but there was no evidence to suggest that the species declined. Although the size of the European population could make it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, it is marginal to a much larger non-European population. Consequently, it is provisionally evaluated as Secure.

Chiefly insects. Forages mainly on ground picking food from lower parts of plant stems and leaves.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 kmē. It has a large global population, including an estimated 2,000-20,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeding in Siberia: eggs laid late June and July. Probably one brood. The nest is built on the ground in low cover or in shelter of tuft of vegetation or low scrub. Nest is a substantial cup of grass and other leaves, lined with finer vegetation. The eggs are sub-elliptical to oval, smooth and glossy; pale grey, sometimes pink-tinted or even dark red-brown, with grey speckling overall, and occasional black hair-streaks or blotches at broad end. Clutch: 4-5(-6) incubated for about 12-13 days. Young fledge after 12-14 days.

Migratory, wintering in East Indies. Because of thinly spread population, dates of movement remain obscure. In Britain (where 28 recorded up to 1985, almost all on Fair Isle, Scotland), occurs late August to mid-November (mostly late September and early October) and once (in Suffolk) in late April.