(1184) Anthus trivialis trivialis.
Alauda trivialis Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed. i, p. 166 (1758) (Switzerland). Anthus trivialis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 302 (part).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper plumage sandy-brown, each feather except on the rump and upper tail-coverts with broad black central streaks; tail brown edged paler, the outermost rectrices sandy-white on the outer web and diagonally on half the inner web; penultimate outer feathers with a triangular white tip; wing-coverts black edged broadly with fulvous-white ; quills dark brown narrowly edged with pale olive, the inner secondaries dark brown broadly edged with sandy-olive; an ill-defined supercilium fulvous : lores and a line behind the eye dusky ; cheeks and ear-coverts fulvous, sometimes mottled with brown; a line under them dark brown; a line from the lower mandible down either side of the neck black ; lower surface white, more or less suffused with fulvous and streaked on the breast and flanks with black.
Colours of soft parts. " Iris black-brown; bill, upper and tip of lower mandible dark brown, rest of lower pale flesh ; legs and feet pale brownish-flesh " (Witherby).
Measurements. Wing 83 to 90 mm.; tail 54 to 64 mm.; tarsus 20 to 21 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
Distribution. A Winter visitor only to the North-West of India, extending South to Travancore and East to Western Bengal.
Nidification. Witherby gives the breeding-season as late May and early June but eggs may occasionally be found in the last week in April and again in late June. The nest is a well-built cup of coarse grasses and roots, lined with finer roots, grass and hair. Sometimes bracken, moss and other materials are mixed in the foundation of the nest. It is nearly always placed on a sloping bank and not in flat marshy meadows, as is so often the case with the Meadow-Pipit, and it is generally well concealed. The eggs number four to six and vary extremely in colour. Some eggs are pale pink, pinkish-stone, yellowish-stone or grey in ground-colour, profusely speckled all over with red, reddish-brown, brown or grey-brown; in others the markings consist of more sparse and much bolder blotches spots or cross lines of the same colours and in a very few the dominant tinge is green. Average of 200 eggs (174 Witherby) 20.09 x 15.1 mm. : maxima 23.4 x 15.4 and 23.0 x 17.2 mm.; minima 17.6 x 13.9 mm. The breeding range extends over the greater part of Europe to lat. 60° Siberia and to Palestine and the Caucasus.
Habits. The Tree-Pipit is found wherever there are ample open spaces mixed with well-wooded areas. In India, where it arrives in early September leaving again in March and April, it affects open" country where there are trees and is especially partial to damp meadows, the vicinity of swamps etc. When disturbed feeding on the ground it invariably settles on a tree or bush, unlike some of the other Pipits, which settle on the ground.