Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis)

It is a medium to large, slender pipit who has variable characteristics across its wide range. South Asian and African populations tend to be more heavily-barred, and browner compared to their grayer-colored counterparts in the Middle East. As their name suggests, they have a long bill, accompanied by a long tail, and a distinct dull eyebrow. These birds thrive in drier, open areas with sparse vegetation and scattered rocks. Like most pipits, it is hard to recognize it in the field due to its plumage.

Read further to know more about the Long-billed Pipit.

What is a Long-billed Pipit?

Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis), also known as the Brown Rock Pipit, is a passerine bird species belonging to the family Motacillidae. It is widely distributed across South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa, in which a newly split non-migratory species called Nicholson’s pipit was established from southern Africa.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Motacillidae

Genus: Anthus

Species: A. similis

Long-billed Pipit Physical Description

Long-billed Pipit is a medium to large pipit, growing from 6.2 to 6.8 inches or 16 to 17.5 centimeters, and weighing from 28 to 38 grams. It is hard to distinguish it on the ground, due to its sandy gray-streaked upperparts and dull buff to whitish underparts. They resemble the Tawny Pipit, but this species has a relatively long tail, and a longer darkish bill, where it got its name.

Where can they be spotted?

Long-billed Pipits thrive in a wide range of habitats, such as semi-arid grasslands, shrubland, and light-wooded locations. They can also be found in burnt fields, fynbos, and overly-grazed pastures. The bird species has a patchy distribution from India, to the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, and Africa.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Long-billed Pipit

Long-billed Pipits feed mainly on seeds, insects, and invertebrates. They do most of their foraging on the ground, picking their food from the soil or from stems. The food items it consumes include grasshoppers, ants, beetles, caterpillars, and termites.

Their flight is quick and strong, producing a distinct “chupp” call, similar to that of the desert lark. Meanwhile, its song resembles that of the tawny pipit but sounds to be more differing, relatively slower “sri-churr-sri-churr” notes.

Long-billed Pipits are monogamous and are territorial nesters. The female solely builds the nest, which is an open cup made of dry stems, and grass, with the interior lined of more delicate rootlets and plant materials. Nests are either placed between rocks and shrubs or grass tufts, or on a slope under an overhanging rock.

The egg-laying season happens from August to April, usually peaks from October to December. The female long-billed pipit lays a clutch of 2-4 eggs. Both parents feed the broods, which will leave the nest in about two weeks. As a defense, the parents act injured to lure predators away from their chicks.

Long-billed Pipits have an extensive range, and their population size appears to be stable. They are currently classified as Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.



Addo Elephant National Park

Cape Peninsula National Park

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Kalahari Gemsbok National Park

Knysna Lagoon

Kruger National Park

Madikwe Game Reserve

St Lucia Wetlands


Etosha National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park

Longbilled Pipit