Long-billed Pipit

Anthus similis

جشنة (زرعي) طويلة المنقار

The Long-billed Pipit belongs to the Motacillidae family in the Passeriformes order.
It is 17-18.8 cm in size and 30 grams in weight. The Long-billed Pipit is a comparatively large pipit with a long tail and beak. Its light coloring, sandy –gray above and whitish below, is an excellent camouflage for its chosen habitat. The streaked chest which is characteristic of pipits is very light or lacking in this species. The hind claw is very long, as in most members of its family, helping it preserve its balance as it walks on the ground. Its diet is composed of small insects, invertebrates and very little vegetation, like most pipits. Most of the year the Long-billed Pipits are difficult to find, however, in February and March the males burst out in song to claim their territory and attract females. They sing from an exposed view point such as a rock or bush, or during flight. Their song is loud enough to be heard from a great distance. Although they are genetically close to the wagtails, which prefer to be near bodies of water, the Long-billed Pipit prefers open scrublands, and treeless, rocky slopes. All its life is spent walking around windswept areas between rocks and shrubs, almost invisible, thanks to its coloring. Every once in a while it will climb upon a rock to scan its "kingdom"- and disappears again with the help of its camouflage. The nest is very simple, a few soft branches and twigs under a rock or bush. The eggs are laid in March, and 3-4 fledglings leave the nest to continue the "dynasty" every year. The Long-billed Pipit is found only in this area that includes Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. In the Arabian Desert and central Asia there are other sub-species. Due to the development which destroys its natural habitat the population has decreased to a level that it is considered endangered. In addition, the trend of forestation of scrublands, for a variety of reasons, has made them inhabitable for pipits. The Long-billed Pipit is one of the victims of the European cuckoo in the behavior called brood parasitism. The cuckoo returns from Africa as the pipits start to breed.  The cuckoo observes the couple and at the right moment lays her egg in their nest. The pipits are left to raise a nestling that will grow to be twice their size.

International conservation status: LC

Regional conservation status : EN

Migratory behaviour: Resident breeder

Sites: Beitillu nature reserve