3 Aug 2016

Tail patterns of Saudi Arabian subspecies of African Pipit v Saudi Arabian subspecies of Long-billed Pipit

Whilst ringing in the Tanoumah area I was lucky enough to trap two Long-billed Pipits Anthus similis arabicus and two African Pipits Anthus cinnamomeus eximius. African Pipit is a little known bird in Saudi Arabia where the subspecies is endemic to the southwest part of Saudi Arabia and nearby Yemen. Little is known of the African Pipit in Saudi Arabia or the subspecies A. s. arabicus of Long-billed Pipit. The Long-billed Pipit is wide ranging in sub-Saharan Africa and from the Middle East and Arabia to Myanmar. Twenty subspecies are described, with the one occurring in Saudi Arabia A. s. arabicus occurring from the Hijaz and Asir mountains in Saudi Arabia to northwest Yemen. As can be seen from the photos below the tail pattern, especially the outer two tail feathers are very different. African Pipit has white outer tail feather and a small amount of white on the inner web of the second outermost tail feather whilst Long-billed Pipit has pale brown outer tail feather with a small amount of pale brown on the inner web of the second outermost tail feather. The tail measurements of the birds I trapped show that Long-billed Pipit has a much longer tail (78 – 80 mm) than African Pipit (65 – 67 mm) that should be noticeable in the field.
African Pipit tail
African Pipit tail
Long-billed Pipit tail
Long-billed Pipit tail
Long-billed Pipit tail
Long-billed Pipit tail

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