Blyth's Pipit near Shenzhen

Blyth's Pipit near Shenzhen

This morning I've visited my local Long Valley habitat at Dayawan near Huiyang city about 40 km east of SHenzhen.
I will send all my sightings in the appropriate thread.
As I was walking along a small path, a bird, Pipit like, just landed at about 20 meters in front of me on the path and get hidden in the vegetation very quickly, as I was trying to approach him, the bird flew away given a series of 2 to 3 notes that attract my attention, the call was not as explosive as a Richard Pipit and even the voice do not remind me this species. The bird just land in a freshly cutted ricefield and I managed to pick up it on my scope very quickly, the bird was looking smaller than a Richard's Pipit, with a thiner bill more straight, a bit more yellowish lower mandible and the structure and the behaviour of the bird do not remind me Richard's Pipit again, I very quickly manage a few digiscoping as the bird was running away from me. Having allready my idea about what it was, I've search on my Iphone list and listen the call of Blyth's Pipit I have on it from "Shulze, les Oiseaux d'Europe", the call was matching quite good to what I've just heard, so I decided to try to get closier to the bird, and the bird flew away giving again its 2 to 3 notes call repeated at very small interval unlike Richard's Pipit. This second occasion of hearing the bird convinced me about the ID of this bird. The bird flew a bit further away in an other rice field and as I was searching it, I flushed it again and it flew calling a few times again. It flew much more far and I was'nt abble to find it again.
Below are the picture of the birds, and a summarysed of the given features for this species, I post also a picture of a Richard's Pipit of a very similar plumage pattern for comparaison that I've done today.

The bill shape :
- the bill looks thiner and more straight than Richard's Pipit, less curved at the nail.
The general structure :
- the bird looks shorter tail, shorter neck, better proportionned than Richard's, given the impression the bird looks more like a small pipit rather than a Richard. This is something surprised me when I've got the bird in the scope the first time. This is also obvious when the bird is walking, it do not have a so long neck as Richard's has.

About Plumage :
Appart of the shape of adult or 1st Winter's black center of the median coverts, there is not much other features that can separate Blyth's  from Richard's Pipit with certainty, unfortunatly the median covert can't be seen well in the picture because of the bird is moulting some of them,  but the following features that can be seen on the picture are good indicators of Blyth's Pipit :
- the upperparts are a bit more heavily streaked, and more contrasted, alternating dark with pale stripe (more pale than the rest of the overall mantle color). I was'nt abble to see that in the other Richard's Pipit I was abble to see today.
- the rufous flanked are without any thin streaks, where many Richard's show somes (as shown on the picture below)
- the bird have more buffy underparts, I found this bird in the field a bit more coloured than Richard's Pipit, in fresh plumage it should be more buffy, but in "Pipits and Wagtails" it is mentionned that in worn plumage Blyth's may show some contrast bewteen buffy  flanks and whiter belly.

The moult should be of help, but it appears to be very complex and again with a lot of variation in each species.
Finally the best way to ID it is with the call, but I was'nt abble to record it despite a few trying.
I don't know if there is any chance the bird stay there, but it is allready quite late in autumn, so why not. Anyway it is probably a good species to search now in HK.
All the best,



BlythsPipitDSC_2617Dayawang20121104LD.jpg (128.67 KB)

4/11/2012 21:41

Blyth's Pipit, neck look very short when the bird is walking


BlythsPipitDSC_2618Dayawang20121104LD.jpg (124.07 KB)

4/11/2012 21:41

Blyth's Pipit, the position of the head is less upright than in Richard's Pipit


BlythsPipitDSC_2621Dayawang20121104LD.jpg (129.43 KB)

4/11/2012 21:41

Blyth's Pipit, showing the contrasting mantle


RichardsPipitDSC_2761Dayawan20121104.jpg (158.62 KB)

4/11/2012 21:41

Richard's Pipit for comparaison