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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Pipits, Wagtails/Motacillidae

Richard's Pipit/Anthus richardi

L 17-20 cm. Rare but regular Siberian vagrant in (mostly) W Europe, primarily in autumn (mid Sep-Nov), extremely rare at other seasons; thus does not breed within region.
IDENTIFICATION: A touch bigger than Tawny Pipit, this reinforced by longer legs and tail and by habit of standing more upright and stretching neck. When perched on wire against pale background (sky), a useful pointer is very long hindclaw (longer than hind toe). Bill averages somewhat longer and stouter than Tawny Pipit’s (like small thrush, but difference not always striking). Flight powerful with long dips. Often hovers briefly before landing in grass (only exceptionally a sign of this in Tawny). Plumage similar to juvenile Tawny Pipit (dark-streaked on back and breast), but has pale lores (at certain angles, however, e.g. in oblique front view, can appear dusky). - Adult: Breast and flanks usually warm buff (even rusty-tinged), contrasting with whiter belly-centre, upper breast dinstinctly streaked; often streaks coalesce to form dark wedge on lower throat-side. Greater and median coverts and tertials rather broadly tipped rusty-brown when fresh. - Juvenile (often even into Oct): Like adult, but upperpart streaking darker, and the blackish median coverts and tertials narrowly and sharply edged white.
VOICE: Call typical, esp. when flushed or on migration, a frothy, grating or hoarse, drawn-out and uninflected (or faintly downslurred) ‘pshee!’ (or ‘shreep’; some House Sparrows can sound similar, but on other hand is very different from Skylark’s calls). Straight, less typical, weaker ‘cheep’ calls heard at breeding site, and sometimes given by vagrants. Song simple, delivered in deeply undulating song-flight, a grinding ‘tschivü-tschivütschivü- tschivü-tschivü’.

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