Berthelot’s pipit (Anthus berthelotii) is named after Sabin Berthelot, a French naturalist who lived on the Canary Islands (2). It is the smallest of the Holarctic pipit species, but despite its small size it has a relatively long bill and tail (4).
The plumage of Berthelot’s pipit is not particularly striking, being mainly brownish-grey on the upperparts and uniformly whitish underneath. However, the breast is clearly streaked with thin, short lines of dark grey-brown (2) (4). There are also grey-brown streaks across the crown (4). The eye of Berthelot’s pipit is surrounded by a whitish ring (2) (4), while the ear-coverts are pale and framed by a broad brown-grey stripe behind the eye (4).
The male and female Berthelot’s pipit look very similar and are almost impossible to tell apart just by looking at the plumage (2) (3) (4). Juvenile Berthelot’s pipits resemble the adults, but with some small differences. For example, the streaks on the crowns of juveniles are slightly broader, darker and more defined than in the adults, while the back and rump tend to have more of a reddish-brown tinge. In addition, the streaks on the underparts of juvenile Berthelot’s pipits are spot-shaped rather than stripy (4).
Berthelot’s pipit performs its chattery song in flight, using a simple two-syllable note which sounds like ‘tsivrr’ (2) or ‘tzirlee’ and is repeated monotonously every second or so (3). The main call of Berthelot’s pipit has been described both as a ‘schrip’ (2) and a single ‘tchelee’ sound. The call is performed either in flight or on the ground, and is shorter and more explosive than the species’ song. Other calls produced by Berthelot’s pipit have been described as a short ‘chup’ and a rather nasal-sounding ‘cheep’ (3).
- Length: 13 - 16 cm (2) (3)
- Wingspan: 21 - 24 cm (3)