email a friend
printable version
VU
Yellow-breasted Pipit Anthus chloris

Justification
This species is classified as Vulnerable since habitat loss and range contractions suggest its small population is undergoing a decline, which is expected to accelerate to a rapid pace given projected rates of habitat loss.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Identification
16-18 cm. Yellow-and-brown pipit. Unmistakable breeding plumage with bright yellow underparts. Juvenile and non-breeding individuals drab with streaked underparts, but still show yellowish wing-linings. Similar spp. Much larger Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus has black breast-band. Voice Rapid, staccato chip chip chip and subdued suweep. Hints Usually in pairs, but forms small flocks outside the breeding season.

Distribution and population
Anthus chloris is a resident and partial migrant of eastern South Africa and, marginally, Lesotho. The core range is centered on the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Drakensberg. Small isolated populations are found farther south in the north-east Eastern Cape to the Drakensberg foothills, and in the eastern Free State. Fewer migrants are now recorded in coastal KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, suggesting a population decline and a slight range contraction. It also used to occur in the Vaal Basin, west to Potchefstroom, but a local extinction event may have occurred. It is assumed that range reductions are concomitant with population declines, and there is evidence for local population decreases and extinction events, particularly in Lesotho.

Population justification
The population has been estimated at 2,500-6,500 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,700-4,300 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to have declined at a moderate rate, in line with the loss and degradation of its grassland habitat. The rate of decline is expected to increase and become rapid in the next ten years.

Ecology
It holds breeding territories in submontane, undulating grasslands, favouring lush, almost meadow-like conditions, where it frequents areas of tussock and grassy slopes. It avoids recently grazed or burnt areas, unlike many Anthus species. Clutch-size is usually three, laid during the rains. After breeding, some remain in the breeding quarters and spend winter on the snowline. Others are found at lower elevations, often in pasture and fallow lands.

Threats
Historical population reductions seem due to habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of intense grazing and burning. Present threats, particularly in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, include rapid afforestation of montane grasslands (notably in the Wakkerstroom district, a major stronghold), agricultural intensification, and unsuitable fire regimes and grazing practices.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in several publicly-owned nature reserves, but only one - Natal Drakensberg Park - holds a substantial population (c.200-500 individuals). The proposed Grassland Biosphere Reserve centred around Volksrust and Wakkerstroom is estimated to hold a highly significant proportion of the global population (500-2,000 pairs). In Lesotho, the Sehlabathebe National Park supports 60-80 pairs. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys and monitoring to clarify population numbers and trends. Research its ecological requirements and the effects of various management practices. Provide incentives to landowners to manage existing grasslands beneficially. Identify uses of grassland with fewer negative impacts than forestry, and provide incentives for their rapid adoption.

References
Barnes, K. N. 2000. The Eskom Red Data Book of birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Contributors
Allan, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Anthus chloris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Yellow-breasted pipit (Anthus chloris) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Motacillidae (Wagtails and pipits)
Species name author Lichtenstein, 1842
Population size 1700-4300 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 19,900 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change