Olive-backed pipit -- 树鹨 (Anthus hodgsoni)

Olive-backed pipit showing long claws
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Olive-backed pipit fact file

Olive-backed pipit description

GenusAnthus (1)

The olive-backed pipit has greenish-olive plumage on its upperparts, from which it receives its common name (3), and white underparts speckled with brown (5). A broad, white line extends above the eye and a whitish spot and black patch lies by the ear-coverts (4). The flight of the olive-backed pipit is undulating and jumpy, and it can move around trees with great agility (5). The vocalisations of the olive-backed pipit include a quiet tsee and a loud teaze call which is uttered when alarmed (6).

Length: 14 cm (2)
Wingspan: 26 cm (2)
21 g (2)

Olive-backed pipit biology

The olive-backed pipit, which is usually found alone or in pairs (5), feeds primarily on insects, but will also eat seeds. It forages on the ground, walking or running after insects (9). When disturbed, it will fly up to the trees (7).

The nesting season of this bird is from May to June. Its nest is a pad of coarse grass lined with finer grasses, concealed in a hollow under a stone. The olive-backed pipit lays around three to five eggs which are pale grey in colour and covered in freckles (10)


Olive-backed pipit range

The olive-backed pipit is native to South, Central and East Asia, as well as Northeast Russia. In the summer it is found in the Himalayan region of India, Nepal and China, as well as Korea and Japan, occurring up to altitudes of 4,500 metres, while in the winter it migrates to south India, South East Asia and the Philippines. On rare occasions the olive-backed pipit has also been seen in Western Europe (5).


Olive-backed pipit habitat

The olive-backed pipit resides in fairly open country, such as grassy meadows, where there are plenty of shady trees. It is also found in cultivated areas such as gardens and mango groves (7) (8).


Olive-backed pipit status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Olive-backed pipit threats

There are currently no significant global threats to the olive-backed pipit. It has an extremely large range and its population is believed to be stable (1).


Olive-backed pipit conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for the olive-backed pipit.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


Small feathers concealing the area of the ear opening.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Robinson, R.A. (2005) BirdFacts: Profiles of Birds Occurring in Britain and Ireland. BTO Research Report 407, BTO, Thetford.
  3. Grimmett, R. (2003) Birds of North India. A&C Black Publishers Ltd, London.
  4. Robson, C. (2007) Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers, London. 
  5. Ali, S. and Ripley, S.D. (2001). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Peterson, R.T., Mountfort, G. and Hollom, P.A.D. (1993) Birds of Britain and Europe. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
  7. Whistler, H. (2007) Popular Handbook of Indian Birds. Gurney and Jackson, London.
  8. Shrestha, T.K. (2001) Birds of Nepal: Field Ecology, Natural History and Conservation. Bimala Shrestha, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  9. Ryser, F.A. and Dewey, J. (1985) Birds of the Great Basin: A Natural History. University of Nevada Press, USA.
  10. Ali, S. (1949) Indian Hill Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Image credit

Olive-backed pipit showing long claws  
Olive-backed pipit showing long claws

© Mike Parker

Mike Parker


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