Unsorted Wild Birds

African Pipits also known as the Grassveld Pipits or Grassland Pipits

The African Pipits (Anthus cinnamomeus) is a fairly small passerine bird belonging to the pipit genus Anthus in the family Motacillidae. It is also known as the Grassveld Pipit or Grassland Pipit. It was formerly lumped together with the Richard’s, Australasian, Mountain, and Paddyfield Pipits in a single species, Richard’s Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae), but is now often treated as a species in its own right.

Distribution and habitat

It occurs in grassland and fields in Southern, Central, and East Africa, south-east of a line from Angola through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Sudan. It is also found in southwestern Arabia.

There is an isolated population in the highlands of Cameroon which is sometimes considered to be a separate species: Cameroon Pipit (Anthus camaroonensis).

Pipit InformationPipit Index of SpeciesPipit Species Photos


The African Pipits is 15 to 17 cm long and is a slender bird with an erect stance.

It is buffy-brown above with darker streaks. The underparts are white or pale buff with a streaked breast and plain belly and flanks. The face is boldly patterned with a pale stripe over the eye and a dark malar stripe. The outer tail feathers are white. The legs are long and pinkish and the slender bill is dark with a yellowish base to the lower mandible.

Juvenile birds have blotched breasts, scalloping on the upper parts and some streaking on the flanks.

The Cameroon Pipit is slightly larger and darker with buff underparts.

Calls / Vocalizations

The song is a repeated series of twittering notes, given during an undulating song-flight or from a low perch.

Conservation status

BirdLife International has lumped the African Pipit with Richard’s Pipit and therefore has given it no separate conservation status. However, Zimmerman, Turner, and Pearson (1999) call it “the common East African pipit.”



Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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