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Anthus campestris

warning Critically Endangered
CR (C2a1,D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yoav Perlman, Avner Rinot

The Tawny Pipit is classified as critically endangered (CR) because of the small breeding population that has decreased greatly in the past two decades, and is now estimated at less than 50 mature individuals. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as endangered (EN). The change in its status reflects the deterioration in population size and its disappearance from areas in which the species bred in the past.
CR Current Regional Assessment | EN Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Alpine Scrubland, Mountainous Terrain
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Alpine, Mediterranean
Landscape Formations Mountainous
Vegetation Formations Steppe, Herbaceous
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Plantations, Habitat Fragmentation

The Tawny Pipit is relatively large and pale with slender elongated body and tail that are reminiscent of a wagtail. Its general color is sandy brown, with long legs and a prominent light eyebrow above a dark moustache. Flight call is short, harsh, and reminiscent of the House Sparrow. Song is disyllabic and metallic, usually sounded in flight.

The Tawny Pipit is an extremely rare summer breeder in Israel, restricted almost exclusively to Mt. Hermon, and a common passage migrant. About 10 pairs nest on the Hermon slopes (Israeli & Perlman 2013). In the past, the Tawny Pipit was a relatively common breeder in northern and central Israel (Meinertzhagen 1920). Until the 1980s, it nested in small numbers along the mountains of Judea, Samaria and the Galilee, such as Mt. Ba’al Hatsor, the Jerusalem Hills, the Etzion Block, the Hebron Mountains and Mt. Kna’an (Paz 1986, Shirihai 1996). It has disappeared from most of these areas as a breeder because of habitat destruction related to expansion of settlements, agriculture, afforestation and decreased grazing in the Galilee (leading to thickening of the vegetation). During the last two decades, only a few observations outside upper Mt. Hermon were recorded, indicating sporadic nesting on the southern slopes of the Judean Mountains. On Mt. Hermon its range has become reduced, and while in the 1980s it was recorded breeding at altitudes of 1,300 meters and higher, in recent years only few individuals have been observed and at higher altitudes, above 1,900 meters (Israeli & Perlman 2013).

The Tawny Pipit nests in open rocky mountain peaks in the Steppe and Mediterranean regions at altitudes of 600 m and more.

The Tawny Pipit is affected mainly by habitat destruction and modification due to settlement, roadbuilding, afforestation and decreased grazing in Judea and Samaria, as well as by infrastructure development on the Mt. Hermon heights.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

The most significant Tawny Pipit population breeds on the Mt. Hermon summit. Any habitat development or modification in its breeding areas should be avoided. In addition, a survey of historical breeding sites on the Judean and Samarian mountains should be conducted to assess whether there are any relictual populations in these areas and if so, how they can be protected.

  • ישראלי, נ. ופרלמן, י. 2013. סיכום סקר עופות מקננים בחרמון. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yoav Perlman, Avner Rinot

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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