Globally, the water pipit is not considered to be threatened with extinction (1), although in certain parts of its range there is concern for this species. In Russia, water pipit populations declined between 1990 and 2000 (11), and in the United Kingdom in 2009 it was moved from the ‘green’ list (indicating no conservation concern) to the ‘amber’ list because less than 900 individuals now breed in Europe (12).
In some areas, grazing animals pose a threat to the water pipit. A study carried out in the Czech Republic, in the Orlické and Jeseníky Mountains, found that grazing by large herbivorous animals negatively influenced the success of nesting water pipits (13). This is thought to occur as grazing alters the vegetation structure and the availability of food, and the nests may also be directly damaged by trampling (13).
In the future, climate change could potentially pose a huge threat to the water pipit. A survey carried out in 2003 found slight rises in temperature are causing premature melts of the snow in the mountain meadows of the Feldberg Region, Germany (14). This allows the meadow pipit to encroach on water pipit territories, increasing competition for food and nesting sites between the two species, and decreasing the water pipit’s chances of survival (14).