New Zealand pipits or pīhoihoi (Anthus novaeseelandiae) are lively insect-eating birds that live in open country throughout New Zealand. Similar in appearance to introduced skylarks, they can be distinguished by their constant bobbing action as they run or stand, flicking their long tails. The name pīhoihoi refers to this rapidly repeated to-and-fro movement.
Pipits are a greyer brown than skylarks, and have prominent white eyebrows. They weigh 40 grams and are 19 centimetres long.
They mainly eat invertebrates, especially beetles, wasps, flies, spiders, crickets, grubs and other larvae. Beaches are a source of sandhoppers, and seeds form a minor part of their diet.
The habitat for pipits would have increased considerably as forest was cleared, allowing the population to grow. However, their numbers declined in the 20th century, as once-rough pasture became more intensively managed, leaving little cover for nests. Meanwhile, increased use of agricultural insecticides reduced their food supply. Pipits are vulnerable to rats and other predators, especially while nesting.
Once thought to be the same species as Richard’s pipit in Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, the New Zealand pipit is now considered a distinct endemic New Zealand species. There are four subspecies, one in each of the following regions:
North, South and Stewart islands, and nearshore islands, Chatham Islands, Auckland and Campbell Islands, Antipodes Islands.
Another new spices to add to goal of capturing the birds of Southland. Please see my journal entry for more details.
An Enormous Project – Southland Birds
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Kaka Point Southland New Zealand
Featured 9th April 2011
Hey, I’ll Pose! – Pipit
Matted Print: Pipit – !
Powered Spring Stilts! – Pied Stilt