Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit on Jersey (Photograph by Nicolas Jouault)Message: 1
   Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 14:42:55 -0400
   From: Andy Horton <>
Subject: Rock Pipit


Rock Pipit

I would like to have a closer look at the Rock Pipit, Anthus petrosus, one
day, and find out more about this bird.

Can anybody suggest:

1)  Time of year and locations where this bird can be observed?
2)  References for more information, e.g. food and behaviour.

Descriptions of this bird's behaviour I would also find interesting. 

Also, I have suspicions that they are hard to see close-up. When a Water Pipit, Anthus spinoletta, (this is what the birdwater said) deigned to visit Widewater Lagoon, Sussex, 
<Brackish.htm> it was just a little brown speck flying up in the distance. 


Andy Horton
Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex

I notice you live in Shoreham. I was at university in Brighton and Brighton Marina is an excellent site for Rock Pipits. They are mostly a winter visitor to Britain but at least one pair usually breeds at the marina. Try the small beach just to the west of the west breakwater or the beach to the east of the east breakwater. You should get excellent views. I@ve also had Water Pipit there in March. 

Marek Walford

Hi Andy 

We have Rock Pipits pretty commonly here in South Wales.  They are especially easy to see in winter on rocky coasts - one site I usually find very reliable is the Ogwr Estuary near Ogmore, south of Bridgend, although I come across them in lots of places at that time of year. 

They are not particularly nervous - you can usually get to within 20 or 30 feet of them if you're careful. 

Hope this helps. 


2 Clos Tawe, Barri, Cymru / Wales
Tel +44 (0)1446 720828 
Mobile +44 (0)7939 537497 


Rock Pipit are truly easy to see, any rocky coast, any time of the year,  In winter they get onto the salt marshes too. 

I don't no where you live, but well known spots include, Anglesey (South stack) Flamborough Head, the Farnes etc. 

The call is also very easy, once learnt, though I am not to good at transcribing calls. similar to Meadow pipit with a "w" sound at the front "wissp?" 

John Girdley

Portland Bill  Anytime especially autumn down to feet 

Terry............... Staffs Birder who year ticks rock pipit at the bill 

P.S. Lovely Crab sandwiches and chips in the cafe by the Bill


Filey Brigg has always been a good place for Rock Pipit especially out on the Brigg at Low Tide. Magic place 

Andrew Fuller

Pretty well any day of the year around the sea wall at Langstone Harbour or the rocks at Portland Bill.... but there must be a dozen locations near Shoreham where you could find them.  They're definitely not unusual birds. 

Brendan McCartney
(Berkshire Birding:


Rock Pipits

Thanks for all the personal replies on the Rock Pipits
I have filed them at:
<R_Pipit.htm >.

It seems that I should look closely at every small bird on the seashore. I am certainly familiar with the rocky shore east of Brighton marina:

However, I have only seen the bird identified as a Water Pipit on one occasion.

I have not spoken to the local birders yet, but it may be that the bird is not thought worth a mention (under-recorded), as the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society records are meagre for this area. 
"The numbers are never very great with counts of 17 between Worthing and Widewater in January 1982 (for example)." 

It is reported as an autumn and winter visitor to the Adur estuary only

Brighton Marina is mentioned as a location for the Scandinavian Rock Pipit  Anthus petrosus littoralis. This latter bird (sub-species?) was recorded in the 19th century with 7 birds in the Booth Museum from Shoreham and nearby.


Andy Horton.

British Marine Life Study Society 

British Marine Wildlife Forum (commenced 1 August 2000) 
Group Home:

I often see about six pipits on Marmotier, Les Écréhous, (Channel Islands) I am not sure if they are there in the winter, I will look out for them. They must nest in the chimneys of the huts. 

from Nicolas Jouault

pictures of Les Écréhous at

Anthus petrosus et Matthiola incana

Hiya Andy, 

> Do rockpoolers see this small bird on visits to the shore. 

> If so, I would be interested in where and when? 

I know its a bit far away but they are very common all year round up at Lochaline (Scotland). I even had them landing on the boat when we are out fishing and coming within a couple of feet of you. 

Davy Holt
ICQ 81258455 
Yahoo: davyh_2001 


Extract from Sussex Annual report 1998 
Rock Pipit - Anthus petrosus
Regular winter visitor, occasionally breeds 
Present in small numbers on beaches at Goring, Shoreham and Widewater in Jan/Feb, also at Brighton Marina where possibly 2 pairs bred but only 1 nest found, producing 3 young. Present at all the aformentioned sites on Nov/Dec. A Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Anthus petrosus littoralis, was at Brighton Marina on Mar 18 and has been accepted by SOS (ADW, IJW) 

I'll ask about more recent sightings 


From: Andy Horton <> 
To: Ray Hamblett <> 

Dear Andy 

Yes, Anthus spinoletta petrosus  (British Isles) and A. s. littoralis (N. W. 
Europe including migrants to B.I.) are two of the many subspecies of A. 
spinoletta.  According to Howard and Moore (1984) 'A complete Checklist of 
the Birds of the World'  the native territory of A. spinoletta spinoletta is 
S. and E. Europe. 

Penhallurick (1978) 'The Birds of Conwall and the Isles of Scilly' states 
that A. S. petrosus is "In its restricted habitat the rock pipit is one of 
our most common breeding birds as recognized by Col. Montagu in his visit to 
the county in 1796-97." 

Let me know if you want more information and I will xerox the three pages 
that Roger P. devotes to this species,  but that couldn't be until next 
Friday when I am at Cornwll Wildlife Trust and can use the machine. 

Best wishes 

Stella Turk <> 

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