An Eco-sustainable World
BirdsSpecies Animal

Anthus cervinus

Anthus cervinus

The red-throated pipit (Anthus cervinus (Pallas, 1811)) is a passerine bird belonging to the Motacillidae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Animalia,
Phylum Chordata,
Subphylum Vertebrata,
Aves class,
Subclass Neornithes,
Superorder Neognathae,
Order Passeriformes,
Suborder Oscines,
Infraorder Passerida,
Superfamily Passeroidea,
Motacillidae family,
Genus Anthus,
Species A. cervinus.
The term is basionym:
– Motacilla cervina Pallas, 1811.
The terms are synonyms:
– Anthus cervinus subsp. cervinus (Pallas, 1811);
– Anthus cervinus subsp. rufogularis C.L.Brehm, 1824;
– Anthus rufogularis Brehm, 1824.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Anthus cervinus is a bird found in Eurasia, North America and North Africa.
This species migrates south across eastern and central Europe (rare accidental in the west), with a foothold in northern Alaska. It is a long-distance migrant, moving to Africa, South and East Asia, and the West Coast of the United States in the winter.
In Italy it is also irregularly wintering.
Its nesting habitat is in the extreme north of Europe and in the Palaearctic near willow groves or subarctic marshes, especially beyond the limit of the arboreal vegetation.

Description –
The Anthus cervinus is a small bird with a length of about 14.5 cm and a wingspan of 26 cm.
In both sexes it has a greenish-brown nuptial coloration in the upper parts, with marked cream and very dark brown streaks.
The beak is somewhat tapered, of a yellowish-brown color and the legs are flesh-coloured.
The underparts are instead white, very streaked with blackish, especially on the sides, and the throat, the upper part of the chest and the sides of the head are of a light red colour, with more intense shades in the males.
In winter dress, on the other hand, the throat, the upper part of the chest and the sides of the head are duller.
Juveniles and individuals in their first winter differ in having the absence of light red parts with sides of the head suffused with greenish brown and streaks on the sides of the throat. To this are added also some whitish streaks on the back.
The flight of this bird is strong and direct, with alternating beats of the wings and, while flying, it emits a characteristic “psii” type call.

Biology –
The Anthus cervinus builds its nests on the ground, among the vegetation, often next to a tuft of grass, on rugged meadows or on a small hill in a swamp; the nest is made of dry grasses and sedges with a soft lining of reindeer hair or down; here it lays its eggs in the period between May and June. The eggs laid are between 4 and 7 eggs. These are incubated almost exclusively by the female for between 10 and 13 days, although the male helps with feeding.
The chicks take from one and a half to two months to fly.

Ecological Role –
The Anthus cervinus is a bird that nests in northern Europe, Asia and Alaska. It is a long-distance migrant, moving to Africa, East Asia, and the West Coast of the United States for the winter. In Western Europe it appears as a migratory passage to North Africa and as a vagrant.
These birds live mainly in low, open marshy areas with deciduous shrubs. Its reproductive habitats are marshy environments and humid tundra. During the migrations they stop in treeless wetlands, but also in arid areas and cultivated fields.
It is a gregarious species and forms small flocks during migration.
This bird searches for food on fields with little vegetation and wet uncultivated meadows, puddles.
It is mainly an insectivorous bird, like all its relatives, but it also feeds on seeds.
From the point of view of its population it is a species distributed over a large range and, according to the IUCN Red List, it is classified as least concern, since its population is believed to be stable and does not face particular threats.

Guido Bissanti

– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– C.Battisti, D. Taffon, F. Giucca, 2008. Atlas of nesting birds, Gangemi Editore, Rome.
– L. Svensson, K.Mullarney, D. Zetterstrom, 1999. Guide to Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Near East, Harper Collins Publisher, UK.

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