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Every autumn many pipits migrate south passing the Netherlands. These birds can be difficult to identify even for experienced birders. We made a shortlist of features to look out for and included the flight call, which is often more helpful.
Meadow Pipit (photo by Rene van Rossum / waarneming.nl)
This is the most common of all. Found in grass fields and sometimes sits on low bushes or fences for a short time.
Red-throated Pipit (photo Stefan Johanson)
Scarce migrant seen in September-October. Mostly heard on migration with distinct call. Prefers same habitat as Meadow Pipit and often joins flocks of Meadow Pipits.
Pechora Pipit (Photo Chris Turner)
Vagrant to NW Europe, at the moment no record in the Netherlands. This species creeps 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, combined with its skulking habits, makes this a difficult species to find.
Tree Pipit (photo Francisco Garcia)
Breeding bird and present from April-October. Favors edges of " younger" woodlands, mainly pines and birches.
Vagrant, prefers same habitat as Tree Pipit but more often been found near pines.
Tawny Pipit (photo Dirk Eijkemans)
Scarce migrant from August to October. Prefers dry and arid grassland.
Richard's Pipit (photo Arie Ouwerkerk)
Scarce migrant from September to November, some wintering birds. Prefers grasslands where it can be hard to locate. Calls frequent when flushed and hovers before it lands.
Blyth's Pipit (photo by Markus Varesvuo)
Vagrant, occurs between October to December. Prefers the same habitat as Richards Pipit but occurs more in the open then Richard's.
Rock Pipit (photo Rudi de Bruyne)
Mainly found on coastal rocky shores from September till May. Later in spring more often inland and on grasslands and mudflats.
Water Pipit (photo Fred Visscher / waarneming.nl)
More confided to fresh water. Occurs from September till May. Forages on grass always near the water.
Buff-bellied Pipit (photo Ronan McCaughlin)
Occurs on both habitats as Rock and Water Pipit. Autumn vagrant, mainly October. No records in the Netherlands.
Pacific Pipit (photo Nial Moores)
Same habitat as American Pipit. No records in the Netherlands but potential vagrant.