Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

Scientific name: Anthus petrosus

Did you know: Rock Pipits are unique in that males will sometimes enter an adjacent territory to assist in repelling an intruder, a behaviour only otherwise observed in the African fiddler crab.

What Do Rock Pipits Look Like? (how to identify them)

Rock Pipits are moderately sized birds, larger than a Meadow Pipit but smaller than a Starling. 

They exhibit a streaky olive-brown colouration on their upper parts and a dirty white underbelly, accentuated with dark streaks. Their appearance includes darkish brown wings that have pale edges, pale chins, and marks on their breasts. During winter, their small and pointy black bills have a yellow colour. 

Adult male and females appear similar, while juvenile Rock Pipits are more brown and streaked.

Differences Between Male and Female Rock Pipits

Male and female Rock Pipits are visually similar, making it a challenge to distinguish between them based on appearance alone. Both sexes share the same colouration and markings, with subtle differences more apparent during the breeding season.

What Do Rock Pipits Eat?

Rock Pipits primarily feed on small invertebrates such as slugs, crustaceans, snails, and beetles. They also consume small fish and occasionally include seeds on their diet. This diet variation allows them to thrive in their coastal habitats.

Where Do Rock Pipits Live? (inc. migration info)

Rock Pipits are primarily found along the UK’s rocky shorelines, where they forage among boulders and perch on prominent rocks. Most Rock Pipits in the UK are residents, with only the younger birds dispersing after gaining independence. During winter, some Rock Pipits migrate from Norway to the UK, occasionally venturing inland near manmade lakes and reservoirs.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Rock Pipits)

The Rock Pipit’s song is a high-pitched, repetitive series that often accelerates towards the end. Its call is a sharp, lisping, and slightly harsh “ssiip,” similar to the Water Pipit. These vocalisations are an integral part of their communication, especially during the breeding season.

Fun Rock Pipit Facts (kid friendly)

  • Rock Pipits can fly thousands of kilometres in a season during migration.
  • They build cup-shaped nests in rocks and crevices, using materials like dried grass and seaweed.
  • Rock Pipit eggs are grey with brown spots and take about 14 days to hatch.
  • These birds are skilled at picking small invertebrates off rocks or from shallow water.
  • Despite facing threats like predators and parasites, the Rock Pipit population is large and stable.

Facts About The Rock Pipit

Diet: Insects, beetles, small fish, small shellfish and seeds.
Bird Family: Pipits and wagtails
Length: 16.5 cm
Wingspan: 23-28cm
Weight: 20-30 g
Scientific Name: Anthus petrosus

The Rock Pipit Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Rock Pipit Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile