Family: (Motacillidae) Wagtails and Pipits
Preferred Habitat: Open grasslands
Seasonal Occurrence: Uncommon October through April
Notes: Two species of pipits are found in our region in winter: American and Sprague's. Sprague's Pipit is much less common. It is distinguished from American Pipit by its lighter plumage, with prominent dark eyes in in a light face. Unlike American Pipits, it does not usually occur in flocks, but is generally alone. Another good identification clue is that Sprague's Pipit does not pump its tail up and down as does American Pipit. Juvenile Sprague's Pipits have spotting rather than streaking on their upper breasts. Sprague's Pipit is considered to be a species in decline; its IUCN conservation status is listed as vulnerable. It relies upon native grass prairies with short and intermediate height grasses, and suitable habitats have become more and more scarce. Sprague's Pipit is on Audubon's WatchList. For more information, please see the Sprague's Pipit webpage on the Audubon site.
- Susan Billetdeaux