11/09/2010 a Blyth’s Pipit at Jahra Pool, Edit: it is now believed to be Richard’s Pipit

Edit: a consensus is reached that the bird is more likely to be an abnormal Richard’s Pipit rather than a Blyth’s Pipit due to a number of reasons mentioned in the comments below.

Today in the evening I was at Jahra Pool Reserve and saw an unfamiliar pipit, after getting closer looks, it seemed to me to be a Blyth’s Pipt.

It looked smaller than Richard’s Pipit, shorter legs and tail, uniformally streaked on head, head and neck looked smaller than that of Richard’s, it also had shorter more pointed bill.

The median wing coverts were sharply defined with white fringes to indicate it is a juvenile, but this median coverts pattern is the same for both juveniles of Richard’s and Blyth’s.

The record is subject to approval by KORC, if it later proved to be incorrectly identified it will be removed from the Blog.

The first record was on 18/04/2003 at Jahra Pool Reserve by George Gregory.

Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlewskii

Alert posture with still short legs

Pointed bill

Dark streaks on head contrast well with supercilium.

Uniform streaks on head

Breast streaks, underparts uniform buff.

10 Comments

  1. It looks very good for blyths. On the photo’s showing left side of the birds, we see distincltly two unmoulted median coverts. It is without doubt a first winter bird. The pattern of the molted coverts is then the best criteria (with the flight call as Mr Perlman said). On this bird, the pointed central pattern and the clear withe side of the molted coverts are definitive Blyth’s characteristics. Felicitations!
    Henri

  2. Excellent photographs! I saw the link on Tarsiger.com and clicked on it out of curiosity.
    However, I must say that it does not look like a Blyth’s Pipit to me…
    Henri is correct in pointing out that there has been some moult in the median coverts on the left side of the body. Yet, I would interpret the moult pattern in a totally opposite way: we see two moulted coverts, not unmoulted. One central and one inner median covert have been moulted: these have broad, rufous tips and are clearly fresh. The central median covert is also distinctly longer than the rest. The median coverts with white edges are the unmoulted (juvenile) ones; they have clearly worn and abraded edges.

    The newly moulted, central median covert shows a clearly pointed, triangular dark centre: a pattern typical of Richard’s Pipit.
    The general colour of the bird, particularly the rufous tinge on mantle and scapulars, looks better for Richard’s. Also, in Blyth’s Pipit, the mantle is much more heavily streaked – almost approaching Aquatic Warbler, if you allow me a bit of exaggeration here.

    All other features I can see in these photographs also point to Richard’s:
    – very long hindclaw (well visible in the second and third photographs)
    – a few thin dark streaks on the rear flank. These are often seen in Richard’s, but very rarely in Blyth’s.
    – rufous flanks set off against paler belly
    – rather heavy bill

    The crown pattern is a bit ambiguous in some photographs, but in other photos it shows the dark ‘brow’ of a Richard’s. The tail looks heavily worn, making it probably appear a bit shorter than when it was fresh. In any case, there is quite a bit of variation in size and structure of Richard’s Pipit, with some birds appearing unusually small and shorter tailed.

  3. Not Blyth’s, but a strange Richard’s maybe. The jizz just doesn’t look right. A Paddyfield? I don’t know.

  4. One of those terrible and odd Richard’s P may be more typical among eastern populations…(smaller, shorter tailed, etc.). To what perfectly reported by peter, I would also add the shape of the rear supercilium, very good ID character for those two : it is very well demarked and wide behind eye, like in RP, while it is in perfectly lateral view quite narrow, and ill defined behind eye in Blyth’s P.

    ciao

    AC

  5. This is a Richard’s Pipit, more like a Tawny than a Blyth’s! Pictures like these from Kuwait were submitted to the Swedish experts decades ago and they all came back as Richard’s. Birders who have seen the old Richard’s complex from Mongolia to New Zealand will understand why. The classic Richard’s pointed coverts are one clue. Unfortunately the call note is trumps along list of often subjective and inconsequential data.

  6. Sorry for the grammar above!
    Incidentally, notice how just a bit of drying mud can give the impression of a classic, Blyth’s bill shape!

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