Plain-backed Pipit ( Anthus leucophrys, family: Motacillidae)

plain black pipit Kruger National Park birds The Plain-backed Pipit (Latin name Anthus leucophrys) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 718 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 1105 also a picture of the Plain-backed Pipit on page 1120. The Plain-backed Pipit belongs to the family of birds classified as Motacillidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Plain-backed Pipit is also known by these other names: Dark Plain-backed Pipit.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Plain-backed Pipit was called the

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Plain-backed Pipit is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Plain-backed Pipit in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Plain-backed Pipit : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Plain-backed Pipit is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Plain-backed Pipit is about 17 cms and its weight is about 23 gms

The male and female Plain-backed Pipit have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is grey.
  • Throat is grey.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Plain-backed Pipit feeds on the ground mainly



Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Plain-backed Pipit is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Anthus leucophrys will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Plain-backed Pipit is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 4

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Plain-backed Pipit are: woodlands and grasslands and riverine areas. The Plain-backed Pipit is also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.

You will not see Plain-backed Pipit in flocks. The bird prefers to act singly or in pairs.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Icelu/Icetshu

Zulu ... umNgcelekeshu/umNgcelu

Afrikaans ...Donkerkoester

German ... Braunrckenpieper

Portuguese ... Petinha-de-dorso-liso

French ... Pipit dos uni

Dutch ... Bruinrugpieper

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 718

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,