I’ve been back at home in Thailand for more than a week now. On March 4, I visited Mae Hia Agricultural College during the morning to kill some time before travelling to Chiang Rai in the afternoon. The first bird that I saw was surprisingly the normally extremely shy Richard’s Pipit. The bird was foraging on the open track by itself and was unusually camera friendly.
This photo shows the jizz of a classic Richard’s Pipit including heavy body, long tail, pale lores, relatively large bill and long hind claws.
Looking a bit thrush-like as described by many authors
The tail is remarkably longer than Paddyfield Pipit.
After the first bird flew out, I walked further into the dry fields and flushed another Richard’s Pipit. In total, I estimated roughly about 3 Richard’s Pipits and 2 pairs of Paddyfield Pipits that morning. It was easier to identify the two species now that the Paddyfield Pipits began to stay in pairs. The male Paddyfield Pipits were also actively performing flight song and display, while Richard’s Pipits showed no interest in gearing up for breeding season.
The second individual that I came across. This one was more heavily streaked. Because of the hot weather, the bird looked slimmer than most Richard’s Pipit images on the internet.
The lores can look dark in some angles, so be sure to evaluate only when in profile. You can also see some new adult feathers on the median coverts.
In only about 1 hour, I could get better photos of the Richard’s Pipits more than any visit that I made, so I could quickly retreat and enjoy myself a cup of ice coffee in a nearby coffee shop.
The third Richard’s Pipit that I photographed. It looked unusually similar to Paddyfield Pipit but the flight call was clearly an explosive “shreep” as I first flushed it.
It spent some minutes preening and scratching on this lump of earth.
But in a normal posture, it still shows a remarkably long tail.
I could get some action shots too.
Looking even more similar to Paddyfield Pipit when the crown feather is fluffed up!
Interestingly the hind claws were shorter than usual for Richard’s Pipit. Don’t know if this has something to do with age or just individual variation.