Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Key facts

Scientific name: Anthus pratensis
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding pairs: 2,000,000 territories

Conservation status: Amber
Length: 14 – 15 cm
Wingspan: 22- 26 cm
Weight: 18 – 20 g


Meadow pipits can be difficult to spot as their plumage often blends into surrounding vegetation. They have olive-brown upperparts, with broad black streaks on the head, mantle and back. The upperwing is darker with pale edges.

Meadow pipits’ tails are dark brown with a green fringe, they have paler underparts, and the underwing is whitish.

They have slender bills which are dark brown with a pale base. Eyes are dark brown, and their legs and feet are yellow-brown with a long hind claw.

Male and female meadow pipits look similar while juveniles are browner with paler underparts. Their streaks are also not as dark.


Meadow pipits build their nests on the ground hidden in vegetation on heaths and coastal marshes. The female only builds the nest which is a neat cup made from grass, lined with finer grass and hair.

Meadow pipits lay 2-7 glossy white eggs with brown spots. The female incubates the eggs for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and they leave the nest 12 days after hatching but will depend on their parents for another 14 days.


Meadow pipits will eat insects, flies, moths, beetles and spiders foraging on the ground among short vegetation. In winter they will supplement their diet with seeds.

Meadow Pipit

Where to see them

Meadow pipits can be seen across the UK but are more common in the north and west. They can be found all year round but during the winter will move further south. Look out for them in open country, upland moors and salt marshes as well as farms and suburban parks.


Lars Lachmann/xeno-canto

Did you know?

During breeding season male meadow pipits will perform a song flight rising straight up to 30 metres before descending with their wings held stiffly like a parachute

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