Fun Olive-backed Pipit Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Nov 17, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 30, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Interesting olive-backed pipit facts about these birds that will amaze you.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds and was introduced in 1821 by Thomas Horsfield M.D, an American physician and naturalist. There are about 70 different species that are further divided into five genera including pipits, longclaws, and the wagtails.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a special species of pipit birds including details about its physical appearance, identification, habitats, population size, distribution or range, conservation status, diet, song, feeding, breeding, and nesting habits!

Olive-backed pipit is a small-sized passerine bird native to Eurasia. Its scientific name Anthus hodgsoni was given to the species by Charles Wallace Richmond, an American ornithologist in 1907, the species was named in honor of Brian Houghton Hodgson, an English naturalist, and ethnologist.

This bird is the genus of Anthus, driven from Latin this word roughly translates to a small garden or grassland bird and is frequently confused with the tree pipit bird. They are native to Eurasia, their distribution occurs in central and south Asia, throughout Europe, and are rare vagrant visitors to regions of North America.

The olive-backed pipit range occupies countries like Russia, Britain, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Whereas in North America these birds have been spotted near the western Alaskan islands. Read on to find out more about them!

Learn about some other birds from our snowy plover facts and whiskered treeswift facts pages.

Olive-Backed Pipit Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an olive-backed pipit?

An olive-backed pipit is a bird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does an olive-backed pipit belong to?

An olive-backed pipit belongs to the Aves class.

How many olive-backed pipits are there in the world?

The accurate data about the population size of this species is unknown. However, these birds are very common and can be found in plenty across their range.

Where does an olive-backed pipit live?

The distribution of this species occurs throughout southern, central, and eastern Asia, as well as in the north-eastern, and western European Russia, and a few regions of North America e.g. outer Aleutians, in Alaska.

What is an olive-backed pipit's habitat?

The olive-backed pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) habitat includes river banks, oak, alder, fir, pine or birch forests, paddy or rice fields, and mountainous regions. It nests near forest edges, marshes, slopes covered with tall grass and fern, rocky grounds, and scrubby regions.

These birds live at an elevation of 1312 ft (4,000 m) in the Himalayas during the mating season and migrate back to regions near the foothills i.e.

8202 ft (2,500 m) low once the season ends. Wintering in evergreen woodlands is preferred by them, and they spend summers in groves, plantations, and among scattered trees.

Who do olive-backed pipits live with?

Olive-backed pipits are solitary birds that pair up during the mating season.

How long does an olive-backed pipit live?

The average lifespan of an olive-backed pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) is between three and five years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds have a breeding season that is clubbed with their winter migration pattern, breeds across its range, except north. olive-backed pipit birds are monogamous, meaning they mate with only one partner every season.

Before the season begins an olive-backed pipit male performs a series of aerial and acrobatic displays mixed with singing, during this flight, the wings are open and the tail spread, while the legs are dangling to impress and attract an olive-backed pipit female.

After pairing up these birds sort out a safe sheltered spot to build their nests, away from predators, as the eggs are often preyed upon by weasels and other wild animals. These birds nest on the ground, between grass, shrubs, or rocks.

The nests are fairly large and made of moss, dry grass, twigs, lined with other finer materials.

The female birds then lay about four to six eggs in a single clutch, these eggs are pale greyish-violet and are covered with dark spots. Incubation lasts for 12 to 13 days and is carried out by the female birds.

What is their conservation status?

The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified olive-backed pipit bird as species of Least Concern.

Olive-Backed Pipit Fun Facts

What do olive-backed pipits look like?

These ground-dwelling birds back in the day often caused identification crises and were dismissed without a proper description. However, recent in-depth studies, closer observations, and scientific examinations have helped the species be recognized distinctively as charming, and fascinating. As they look similar to many other pipit birds, let's learn how to differentiate them from the rest!

They are similar to a meadow pipit bird but have finer streaks and markings on flanks and a more refined breast, a prominent, pink-reddish, and heavier bill, bland and plain rump, pale pink feet, slightly curved and shorter hind claws, their body is visually more elongated and slimmer.

Olive-backed pipit birds also resemble the red-throated pipit but do not have the striking vivid red pattern marked on either side of their head and nape.

An olive-backed pipit, appearance-wise, is most similar to a tree pipit, they are so closely related that sometimes they even interbreed!

The main physical characteristics of olive-backed pipit birds include finely streaked yellow-green upperparts, with contrasting white underparts, broad pale lines surrounding the eyes, the white outer tail feathers and the flight feathers in this species is more prominent than the other pipit species, dark brown flanks, and dark streaks on the breast, orange-pink eyebrows, and pale brown belly and undertail.

Both sexes are virtually identical, juvenile chicks, on the other hand, have a duller, and uniform plumage with lesser streaks.

Fun facts about olive-backed pipit birds for kids.

How cute are they?

These birds are considered to be quite cute, especially because of their small size, and the fluffy streaked plumage.

How do they communicate?

This bird is known for its diverse use of calls and having an impressive repertoire of sounds. The olive-backed pipit call includes a loud 'teazzze'  sound in flight, when at rest or while perching on a tree it produces an almost inaudible 'tsii' or 'sipp' note.

Some sounds begin with several 'che-che-che' notes, that descend into ricocheting whistling notes.

The flight call is very similar to that of the tree pipit, however, it can be distinguished if heard carefully as this species produce a much higher-pitched call.

Their song is brief and consists of rapidly repeated single trilled phrases, and short, dry rattles. The song is usually given or sung by them while flying or while sitting on a tree.

How big is an olive-backed pipit?

An olive-backed pipit grows about 5.9-7.4 in (15-19 cm) in size.

A swan is nearly six times bigger than an olive-backed pipit!

How fast can an olive-backed pipit fly?

The flying speed rate of this species is around 20-30 mph (32-48 kph).

How much does an olive-backed pipit weigh?

An olive-backed pipit weighs about 0.6-0.9 oz (17-26 g). They are 10 times heavier than the bee hummingbird.

What are the male and female names of the species?

This species does not have sex-specific names for its members. They are simply denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby olive-backed pipit?

A baby olive-backed pipit is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Olive-backed pipit birds feed on different types of insects, but after or before the nesting season their diet includes a variety of seeds weeds and grass. These birds often forage on the ground, among tall trees, grass, shrubs, bushes, shorelines, streams, lakes, and river banks.

Snakes often attack their nests to steal the eggs and feed on them.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really! They are not suitable as pets, even though these birds aren't aggressive, they are still a wild bird species that would have a tough time living away from their natural habitat.

Did you know...

Another unique fact about an olive-backed pipit bird is that it is also called the Indian pipit, Hodgson's pipit, as well as tree pipit (owing to its uncanny resemblance to the tree pipit.)

Do olive-backed pipits migrate?

Yes, they do, and the olive-backed pipit migration pattern is a little different from other bird species. They travel long distances from late August, which is the end of the breeding season.

In winter, they migrate southwards of their range, and birds that already occupy the southern areas move further south to spend the season in temperate regions. The species also wander to North America, the Middle East, and the North Gansu province while migrating, and are considered as rare and uncommon in North American regions.

Are olive-backed pipits endangered?

These birds are not endangered nor are they threatened globally. Their population size is stable and the species is doing well overall.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these palm cockatoo facts and vesper sparrow facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free and printable olive-backed pipit bird coloring pages.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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