Pipits @ Mae Hia (2)

In the last post, I have posted photos of the first 3 Richard’s Pipits that showed up on the morning of March 11 at Mae Hia Agricultural College. This post will be about the other 3 Richard’s Pipits and also the 3 Paddyfield Pipits that were showing in the same area.

As noted in the earlier post, RP1-3 basically had the same size which is about the size of a Paddyfield Pipit. On the other hand, RP4-6 that showed up later were noticeably larger with a different shape and posture. My hypothesis is that these birds are the nominate subspecies ‘A. r. richardi’ while RP1-3 are the subspecies ‘sinensis’.

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RP4

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RP4 with a Chinese Pond Heron in the background

I couldn’t get many photos of RP4 because it only showed up briefly on the other edge of the plot. What’s really striking about this individual was its size and stance. It was strikingly large and pale with a very upright posture but with a full belly. The lores looked pale and the lower mandible was largely pale pinkish.

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RP5; Note stronger built than RP1-3

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RP5; The ‘gorget’ is not as clearly marked as in RP1-3

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RP5 with RP2 in the foreground and a Paddyfield Pipit in the background

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The Paddyfield Pipit (PP3) and even RP2 looked obviously smaller.

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RP5

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RP5; Bill coloration is slightly less pinkish than RP4

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RP5

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RP5; It was interesting to see that lores look slightly darker than in other individuals in any angle.

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RP5 with RP1 in the foreground. Note the strikingly larger size.

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RP5; Looking very thrush-like!

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RP5 with RP1 (left) and RP2 (right) in the foreground. Again note the larger size.

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RP5 showing slightly dark lore

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RP5; No thick lateral crown stripe

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RP5 looking very large and thrush-like

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RP5 in a typical posture

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RP5 with a Paddyfield Pipit (PP3) and a male Pied Bush Chat in the background; Note large looking

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RP5

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RP5

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RP5; Note especially dark lore from this angle

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RP5 stretching

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RP5; Again no thick lateral crown stripe

Then came along was also another strikingly large individual, RP5. It was also strikingly large and pale like RP4 but with a worker plumage which makes it look more greyish. When comparing to RP1-3, the bill seems to be slightly larger. It also has a more upright posture with longer and more slender neck. The head also looks somewhat less rounded and the crown streaks seem to be equally broad unlike in RP1-3 which have broader and more obvious lateral crown stripes.

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RP5 at noon; The long necked and full belly appearance was still notable.

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RP5; Again showing the much loosely connected gorget

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RP5; Note crown peak at rear, long and slender neck, and heavy chest and belly

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RP5

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RP5; Note again no thick lateral crown stripe

As the temperature rose higher and higher around noon, the birds looked much thinner than they were in the morning, but the jizz still stayed the same.

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RP6; Note also the large looking shape and large bill

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RP6

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RP6; The bill looks large and not conical at all

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RP6 in a typical posture

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RP6; Note the pale lore and face

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RP6; It lacks the heavy chest and belly impression seen in both RP4 and RP5

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RP6; The gorget is not very clearly marked.

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RP6

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RP6; Note bill shape

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RP6

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RP6; I had never realised how long their legs are!

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RP6; Looking very slim and very Paddyfield Pipit like when the weather got hotter. The tail still looks longer than in Paddyfield Pipit though.

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RP6

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RP6 eating some kind of insect

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RP6

RP6 was the last individual that showed up. It somehow had a mixed impression between RP1-3 and RP4-5. The bill looks similar to RP5 but it lacks the heavy chest and belly impression, as well as the long and slim neck. Even though it was quite noticeably larger than RP1-3 when seen in comparison, but it doesn’t look like a larger bird. I’d still say that it is the nominate race ‘richardi’ by the way, because even though the size and structure seem to be more delicate, the bill shape still seems to fit more to RP4-5.

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Now, let’s see some photos of the local Paddyfield Pipits that also put on an equally great show at the same spot. There were total 3 individuals as seen in the image above. PP1 and PP2 seemed to be a breeding pair, while PP3 was only seen feeding by itself.

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PP1 while singing; Note fresh plumage

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PP1

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PP1; Note short tail

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PP1; Note short tail even when seen from behind unlike Richard’s Pipit

A video of PP1 while calling

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PP1; The dark loral stripe is very distinct.

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PP1

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PP1; Note again the short tail which makes it look a bit oddly proportioned

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PP1

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PP1; A very classic example of Paddyfield Pipit

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PP1

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PP1

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PP1; Note very restricted breast streaking, also no flank streaking

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PP1 with prey

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PP1

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PP1 looking big headed and very short tailed

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PP1

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PP1; Again the very limited breast streaking

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PP1

PP1 was the most vocal and most obliging one. It seemed to be quite curious about the hide and often came walking around closely. It was the palest among the 3 individuals with pale sandy buff overall colouration. The lores are strikingly dark and the tail is short, so it was very straightforward for identification.

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PP2; Note the worner plumage comparing to PP1

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PP2; Slightly more breast streaking than PP1

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PP2; Note short tail and no flank streaking unlike Richard’s Pipits

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PP2 whirring its wings probably as an aggressive gesture to PP3 in the foreground

I only took few photos of PP2 as it didn’t spend much time at the plot. It seemed to be interacting a lot with PP1 but showed signs of aggression towards PP3 and Richard’s Pipits, so I guessed they were a breeding pair. It shares the same structure as PP1 but the plumage is slightly worner and more rusty tinged.

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PP3; Note dark cheek and bold streaking on head and neck

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PP3

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PP3; The flank is rich ochre coloured.

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PP3; Note very dark cheek and bold streaking

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PP3 in a typical posture

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PP3; Note very bold and dense streaking

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PP1; Showing a gorget almost as clear as in RP1-3

Of all the 3 Paddyfield Pipits seen on that day, PP3 caught my attention the most. It has a weird rich ochre and rufous colouration especially on the flanks, cheeks and underparts. The black markings on the head and neck are also much bolder than in any other individual. The tail is short just like PP1-2, the lores are dark and the size is small, so it was no doubt a Paddyfield Pipit, but I really can’t be sure why it shows such a dark colouration unlike the others.

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4 thoughts on “Pipits @ Mae Hia (2)

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