The Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) is a small, well-camoflaged brown ground-dwelling bird, with feather colour from pale brown to darker brown streaks above. The underparts are a creamy white, spotted and dark streaked on the breast. It has pale creamy light coloured stripes on the eyebrows and below the cheek. The wings and fairly long tail are dark brown, that shows white edges when in flight.

They are often seen perched on fence-posts and walking around on the ground. Whilst standing, they often wag their tails up and down, even as they walk with a bobbing gait. The eyes are brown and the bill and legs are a pale pink-grey.

Common in open grasslands and agricultural areas, sometimes seen in flocks, they are a sight to behold wagging their tails up and down whilst foraging. They feed on seeds, ground on insects and their larvae.

The Australasian Pipit nest is in the ground, creating a depression sometimes sheltered by a grass tussock, stone bits of wood. The nest is lined with grasses and hairs. It is the female of the species that incubates the eggs and feed the young.

The Australasian Pipit are found right across Australia, as well New Guinea, New Zealand, Africa and Asia. A number of subspecies are recognised in Australia and overseas.

Common name
Once known as the Richard’s Pipit. Australasian Pipit.

Images © Dorothy L

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Motacillidae
  • Genus: Anthus
  • Species: A. novaeseelandiae
  • Binomial name: Anthus novaeseelandiae

Footnote & References

  1. Australasian Pipit, Australian Museum,
  2. Australasian Pipit, BirdLife Australia,
  3. Australian Pipit, M. Dahlem,