Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

Key facts

Scientific name: Anthus petrosus
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 34,000 pairs

Conservation status: Green
Length: 16.5 cm
Wingspan: 23 – 28 cm
Weight: 20 – 30 g


Rock pipits have dark grey upperparts with streaks on their mantles. They have dark brown wings with pale edges and dark brown tails. Their underparts are pale brown and they have a pale chin with streaks on their breasts and pale bellies.

Rock pipits have fine brown streaks on their heads and a light eyebrow with a pale broken eye-ring. They have small, pointed black bills with a yellow base in winter. Their eyes are dark brown and their legs and feet are dark reddish-brown.

Adult male and female rock pipits look similar while juveniles are browner and more streaked.


Female rock pipits build cup-shaped nests in rocks and crevices from dried grass, leaves and seaweed and lined with animal hair, fine grasses and feathers.

Rock pipits lay 4-5 grey eggs with brown spots which are incubated by the female for 14 days while the male guards the nest. The chicks are reared by both parents and fledge 15 days after hatching.


Rock pipits eats invertebrates such as snails, slugs, crustaceans, beetles and small fish. They will also supplement their diet with seeds.

Rock Pipit

Where to see them

Rock pipits are found on rocky shorelines all around the UK.


Jarek Matusiak/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Males rock pipits will sometimes enter an adjacent territory to assist the resident in repelling an intruder, behaviour only otherwise known from the African fiddler crab.

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