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Pechora Pipit

Pechora Pipit
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Anthus gustavi

Pechora Pipit, Anthus gustavi, is a small passerine bird which breeds in the tundra of the far north of Asia from Russia eastwards. It is a long-distance migrant moving in winter to Indonesia. It is a rare vagrant to western Europe in September and October.

This is a small pipit, which resembles non-breeding Red-throated Pipit. This is an undistinguished looking species, heavily streaked brown above, with whitish mantle stripes, and with black markings on a white belly and buff breast below. It can be distinguished from Red-throated by its heavier bill, whiter mantle stripes, and contrast between its buff breast and white belly.

This is a species which creeps mouse-like in long grass, and is reluctant to fly even when disturbed. Its call is a distinctive electrical zip. Although the call is generally helpful when identifying pipits, this species calls far less than most. This, combine with its skulking habits, makes this a difficult species to find and identify away from its breeding grounds in the arctic.

Probably the best place in western Europe to see this rarity is Fair Isle, Shetland. The lack of cover on this small island makes skulking passerines easier to find.

The breeding habitat is damp tundra, open forest or marshland. The nest is on the ground, with 4-5 eggs being laid. This species is insectivorous, like its relatives.