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Long-tailed Pipit Anthus longicaudatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Taxonomic note
Described as new to science by Liversidge (1996).

Distribution and population
Anthus longicaudatus is known from South Africa, but is presumed to be a migrant. It has also been recorded from Zambia and Botswana. It occurs in flocks of 10-40 individuals, sometimes in mixed flocks with resident pipits - Buffy Pipit A. vaalensis, African Pipit A. cinnamomeus and Long-billed Pipit A. similis - on playing fields in the town of Kimberley, and on surrounding farms (Liversidge 1996). It may breed further north on the Barotse floodplains in Zimbabwe (del Hoyo et al. 2004), while there are reports that non-breeding flocks of a plain-backed pipit are commonly found on open savannas in the northern and central Kalahari during the wet season: these could be of the northern race of Plain-backed Pipit A. leucophrys or may relate to A. longicaudatus (Harrison et al. 1997). Ornithologists in Kimberley and neighbouring regions, and further afield, should be on the alert for the occurrence of migratory or breeding individuals of this very poorly known species (Liversidge 1996).

Population justification
This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Its breeding habitat is unknown, but in the non-breeding season it occurs in short dry grassland including urban parks and playing fields (del Hoyo et al. 2004). Its horizontal posture and exaggerated tail-wagging behaviour are distinctive (del Hoyo et al. 2004).


Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey the Barotse floodplains in Zimbabwe (del Hoyo et al. 2004), and establish the identity of the plain-backed pipits that are reportedly commonly found on open savannas in the northern and central Kalahari. Carry out fieldwork in the Kimberley area and adjacent areas in southern Africa to attempt to determine its breeding range and the extent of its non-breeding range.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2004. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Harrison, J. A.; Allan, D. G.; Underhill, L. G.; Herremans, M.; Tree, A. J.; Parker, V.; Brown, C. J. 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

Liversidge, R. 1996. A new species of pipit in southern Africa. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 116: 211-215.

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

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Anthus longicaudatus. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 - Long-tailed pipit (Anthus longicaudatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Motacillidae (Wagtails and pipits)
Species name author Liversidge, 1996
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species