Olive-backed pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

GenusAnthus (1)
SizeLength: 14 cm (2)
Wingspan: 26 cm (2)
Weight21 g (2)

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The olive-backed pipit has greenish-olive plumage on its upperparts, from which it receives its common name (3), and white underparts speckled with brown (5). A broad, white line extends above the eye and a whitish spot and black patch lies by the ear-coverts (4). The flight of the olive-backed pipit is undulating and jumpy, and it can move around trees with great agility (5). The vocalisations of the olive-backed pipit include a quiet tsee and a loud teaze call which is uttered when alarmed (6).

The olive-backed pipit is native to South, Central and East Asia, as well as Northeast Russia. In the summer it is found in the Himalayan region of India, Nepal and China, as well as Korea and Japan, occurring up to altitudes of 4,500 metres, while in the winter it migrates to south India, South East Asia and the Philippines. On rare occasions the olive-backed pipit has also been seen in Western Europe (5).

The olive-backed pipit resides in fairly open country, such as grassy meadows, where there are plenty of shady trees. It is also found in cultivated areas such as gardens and mango groves (7) (8).

The olive-backed pipit, which is usually found alone or in pairs (5), feeds primarily on insects, but will also eat seeds. It forages on the ground, walking or running after insects (9). When disturbed, it will fly up to the trees (7).

The nesting season of this bird is from May to June. Its nest is a pad of coarse grass lined with finer grasses, concealed in a hollow under a stone. The olive-backed pipit lays around three to five eggs which are pale grey in colour and covered in freckles (10). 

There are currently no significant global threats to the olive-backed pipit. It has an extremely large range and its population is believed to be stable (1).

There are no known conservation measures in place for the olive-backed pipit.

To learn about the conservation of birds around the world see:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Robinson, R.A. (2005) BirdFacts: Profiles of Birds Occurring in Britain and Ireland. BTO Research Report 407, BTO, Thetford.
  3. Grimmett, R. (2003) Birds of North India. A&C Black Publishers Ltd, London.
  4. Robson, C. (2007) Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers, London. 
  5. Ali, S. and Ripley, S.D. (2001). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Peterson, R.T., Mountfort, G. and Hollom, P.A.D. (1993) Birds of Britain and Europe. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
  7. Whistler, H. (2007) Popular Handbook of Indian Birds. Gurney and Jackson, London.
  8. Shrestha, T.K. (2001) Birds of Nepal: Field Ecology, Natural History and Conservation. Bimala Shrestha, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  9. Ryser, F.A. and Dewey, J. (1985) Birds of the Great Basin: A Natural History. University of Nevada Press, USA.
  10. Ali, S. (1949) Indian Hill Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.