Anthus Bechstein, Naturg. Deutschl, iii, p. 704 (1807). Type, Anthus trivialis Linn.

The genus Anthus differs from Motacilla and Dendronanthus in its comparatively much shorter tail and streaked upper plumage.

Pipits are found over nearly the entire world. They resemble each other greatly in their pattern of colour and consequently are difficult to describe; long descriptions, therefore, are useless, identification depending entirely on a few characters which are easily learnt. Each species is very constant to one type. The young are very much spotted beneath and their spots become reduced in size at each successive Spring moult and in a few species disappear altogether. The difference in plumage in Summer and Winter is negligible, merely consisting in the black streaks and spots becoming more pronounced as the feathers become abraded towards the end of Summer.

The sexes are alike and the young resemble the adults except for the excessive spotting below.

Key to Species.

A. Hind claw not exceeding hind toe in length.
a. Pale tip of inner web of penultimate tail-feather very small.
a1. Pale tips of tail-feathers white.
a2. Upper plumage brown, boldly streaked…………A. trivialis, p. 279
b2. Upper plumage greenish, finelystreaked…………A. hodgsoni, p. 281.
b1 Pale tips of tail-feathers pale rufous…………A. sordidus, p. 284.
b. Pale tip of inner webs of penultin ate tail-feathers large, about one-third length of feathers…………A. nilghiriensis, p. 283.
B. Hind claw exceeding hind toe in length.
c. Sides of body plain or with obsolete streaks only.
c1. General colour of lower plumage sandy or buff.
c2. Breast spotted or streaked.
a3. Upper plumage brown, the feathers with broad dark centres…………A. richardi, p. 287.
b3. Upper plumage sandy with faint darker centres…………A. campestris, juv.,p. 293.
d2. Breast unspotted and unstreaked…………A. campestris, ad., p. 292.
d1. General colour of lower plumage vinous…………A. spinoletta, ad., p. 290.
d. Sides of body!with coarse, dark streaks.
e1. Axillaries and under wing-coverts yellow…………A. roseatus, p. 295.
f1.Axillaries and under wing-coverts whitish or brownish.
e2. Throat and breast cinnamon-red…………A. cervinus, ad., p. 294.
f2. Throat and breast whitish or fulvous.
c3. Upper plumage very dark with fulvous margins…………A. cervinus, juv., p. 294.
d3. Upper plumage clear brown with olive-brown margins………A. spinoletta juv., p. 296.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.3 1926.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Vol. 3
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