Plain-backed Pipit | Anthus leucophrys

Robert's Birding Information: Plainbacked Pipit

The Plain-backed Pipit is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Motacillidae bird family group which includes birds such as Wagtails, Longclaws, Pipits.

The description for the Plain-backed Pipit (Latin name Anthus leucophrys) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Anthus leucophrys can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 718 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 1105. You will find a picture of the Plain-backed Pipit on page 1120.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

Neither the Latin nor the English name for this bird has been affected by recent nomenclature modifications ? these changes have been incorporated into Robert's 7th Edition where appropriate.

The Plain-backed Pipit is known in Afrikaans as Donkerkoester.

The Plain-backed Pipit has a height of 17 cms and weighs around 23 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Anthus leucophrys has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is grey.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is grey.

Back is brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Juvenile  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Plain Backed Pipit Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Plainbacked Pipit Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Plain-backed Pipit is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The Plain-backed Pipit is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The bird is found in the African bushveld.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Plain-backed Pipit is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.