Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Paddyfield pipit

Binomial name: Anthus rufulus, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1818

The paddyfield pipit, or Oriental pipit, (Anthus rufulus) is a small passerine bird in the pipit and wagtail family. It is a resident (non-migratory) breeder in open scrub, grassland and cultivation in southern Asia east to the Philippines. Although among the few breeding pipits in the Asian region, identification becomes difficult in winter when several other species migrate into the region. The taxonomy of the species is complex and has undergone considerable changes.

Description

This is a large pipit at 15 cm, but is otherwise an undistinguished looking bird, mainly streaked grey-brown above and pale below with breast streaking. It is long legged with a long tail and a long dark bill. Sexes are similar. Summer and winter plumages are similar. Young birds are more richly coloured below than adults and have the pale edges to the feather's of the upper parts more conspicuous with more prominent spotting on the breast. The population waitei from north-western India and Pakistan is pale while the population malayensis from the Western Ghats is larger, darker and more heavily streaked with the nominate rufulus intermediate.

In winter some care must be taken to distinguish this from other pipits that winter in the area, such as Richard's pipit, Anthus richardi and Blyth's pipit, Anthus godlewskii. The paddyfield pipit is smaller and dumpier, has a shorter looking tail and has weaker fluttering flight. The usually uttered characteristic chip-chip-chip call is quite different from usual calls of Richard's pipit (an explosive shreep) and Blyth's pipit (a nasal pschreen). The tawny pipit has less streaking on the mantle and has a black loreal stripe and a longer tail. The Western Ghats population can appear very similar to the Nilgiri pipit.

Taxonomy and systematics

Some of the subspecies in the group were formerly treated as a subspecies of the Australasian pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae and the grouping has been in state of flux. Considerable colour and morphological variation with age and latitude make the species difficult to identify from museum specimens. Six subspecies are now included in this species. (see further down for the list)

Some authorities consider paddyfield pipit to be a subspecies of Richard's pipit, A. richardi.

Behaviour and ecology

A widespread species found in open habitats, especially short grassland and cultivation with open bare ground. It runs rapidly on the ground, and when flushed, does not fly far.

The paddyfield pipit reeds throughout the year but mainly in the dry season. Birds may have two or more broods in a year. During the breeding season, it sings by repeating a note during its descent from a short fluttery flight, a few feet above the ground. It builds its nest on the ground under a slight prominence, a tuft of grass, or at the edge of a bush. The nests are woven out of grass and leaves and are normally cup shaped. Exposed nests are sometimes domed or semi-domed, the long grass at the back and sides extending over the top. Nests are lined with finer grass or roots and sometimes with a little dry moss, bracken or other material at the base of the nest. The usual clutch is three or four eggs with greenish ground colour and numerous small brown specks at the larger. When disturbed near the nest, the birds flutter nearby with weak tsip-tsip-tsip calls. Parent birds may also feign injury to distract predators.

It feeds principally on small insects but consumes larger beetles, tiny snails, worms etc. while walking on the ground, and may pursue insects like mosquitoes or termites in the air.

A species of Haemoproteus, H. anthi, has been described from this species.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Motacillidae
Genus
Anthus
Species
Anthus rufulus

Subspecies

  • Anthus rufulus albidus, Erwin Stresemann, 1912

    Range: Found in Sulawesi, Bali and the western Lesser Sundas (Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Padar, Rinca, Flores, Sumba).

  • Anthus rufulus lugubris, Arthur Hay, A.K.A. Viscount Walden, 1875

    Range: Found in Philippines; possibly also northern Borneo.

  • Anthus rufulus malayensis, Thomas Campbell Eyton, 1839

    Range: The dark form of the wet zone of the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka

  • Anthus rufulus medius, Alfred Russel Wallace, 1864

    Range: Found in the eastern Lesser Sundas (Sawu, Roti, Timor, Kisar, Leti, Moa, Sermata).

  • Anthus rufulus rufulus, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1818

    Range: Found in most of Indian Subcontinent (except for the north-west, north and extreme south-west) east to southern China, south to southern Thailand and Indochina

  • Anthus rufulus waitei, Hugh Whistler, 1936

    Range: (not always recognized) is found in the dry zone of the north-western part of the Indian Subcontinent

Synonyms

  • Corydalla rufula

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Paddyfield pipit, Anthus rufulus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Manao-Khao Tanyong National Park
  • Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo
  • Ban Chang District, Rayong
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao
  • Ban Sang District, Prachinburi
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Chum Ta Bong District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Dan Chang District, Suphan Buri
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hat Wanakon National Park
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Sala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Khro District, Chaiyaphum
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Kaset Sombun District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khanom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khemarat District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Khlong Hoi Khong District, Songkhla
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khun Tan District, Chiang Rai
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • La-ngu District, Satun
  • Laem Ngop District, Trat
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Laem Son National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Mo District, Lampang
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Tha, Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mu Ko Phetra National Park
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chachoengsao District, Chachoengsao
  • Mueang Chaiyaphum District, Chaiyaphum
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Kalasin District, Kalasin
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Lopburi District, Lopburi
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Sa Kaeo District, Sa Kaeo
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Satun District, Satun
  • Mueang Songkhla District, Songkhla
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani
  • Mueang Surin District, Surin
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Na Chaluai District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Yuen District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Non Thai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Han Lake
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Waeng Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Khat District, Bueng Kan
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pang Sila Thong District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Pathio District, Chumphon
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phanat Nikhom District, Chonburi
  • Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Kradueng National Park
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Samae San Island
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Kala Khiri National Park
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sattahip District, Chonburi
  • Si Maha Phot District, Prachinburi
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Sikhoraphum District, Surin
  • Sop Prap District, Lampang
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Sala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Tha Wung District, Lopburi
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thai Mueang District, Phang Nga
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thao Kosa Forest Park
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thap Than District, Uthai Thani
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wang Nam Yen District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wang Saphung District, Loei
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area
  • Watthana Nakhon District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wiang Chai District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai

Range map of Anthus rufulus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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