British wildlife recordings
Anthus trivialis : Tree Pipit - Motacillidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
Song of the tree pipit recorded on Old Dean Common, Surrey. The tree pipit is a small brown bird that can be found in open countryside such as heaths, parkland and scrub. It is usually noticed by its habit of launching itself high from treetops before 'floating' gently back down to a favoured perch. It is during this flight that the pipit delivers its busy song of repeating phrases, culminating with a characteristic 'seea-seea-seea'. When courtship commences in May, male birds can be observed chasing females in fast, jerky flight. The tree pipit is slim and elegant in appearance, displaying a strongly contrasting mixture of brown and yellow feathers. Despite its name this bird is often seen on the ground with its tail wagging, searching for insects and spiders. The nest, which is also located on the ground, consists of dry grass and hair, and is built on a foundation of moss. Although the female takes responsibility for incubation, both parents raise the chicks. This pipit can be found throughout Britain from April to September, migrating to Africa for the winter. In central and southern England the species has faced a decline due to loss of suitable breeding habitat, such as heathland. The population of breeding birds stands at 120,000 pairs.