Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

A small, brown, streaky bird, it is the commonest songbird in upland areas and its high, piping call is a familiar sound. In flight it shows white outer tail feathers and in the breeding season it has a fluttering ‘parachute’ display flight. In winter they are quite gregarious and gather in small flocks, often invisible among the vegetation, suddenly flying up with typical jerky flight.

Meadow pipit numbers in the UK have been declining since the mid-1970s, resulting in this species being included on the amber list of conservation concern.

The meadow pipit looks frail and feeble – but it is a tough little bird. It is one of a few species that you can find on the bleak uplands and chilly coasts throughout the year. It often rises from the feet with what looks to be an air of “panic” – fleeting past one way – then another – looks like it cant decide which way to go – but on the ground it is quite a “laid back” mover. In the spring it performs a flight-song – the purpose being to defend its territory from another pipit.