Skip to main content

Bird Gallery

American Pipit

American Pipit
American Pipit

© Helen Baines

Anthus rubescens

Family: (Motacillidae) Wagtails and Pipits

Preferred Habitat: Fields and beaches

Seasonal Occurrence: Common November through March

Notes: A common winter bird in Texas, the American Pipit has a finely streaked gray-brown back, gray head and dark tail. The throat is buffy to gray and dark streaks extend down the breast and along the sides. A buffy eyebrow accents the face. Often mistaken for a sparrow, the American Pipit can be distinguished by its thin bill and its habit of bobbing its tail. Sprague's Pipit is much less common and also does not pump its tail up and down.

Typically found in small flocks, American Pipits prefer open areas where they may be seen walking about searching for small insects and spiders. They are almost never found in trees. In winter they can be spotted in open areas around Houston, including city parks such as Sunnyside and Cullinan.

The name comes from the pip-it-sounding call notes the bird utters when taking flight and when communicating with members of a flock or a mate.