Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Least Concern

African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus)


French: Pipit africain German: Zimtspornpieper Spanish: Bisbita africano
Other common names: Grassveld Pipit, Jackson's Pipit (race latistriatus)

Anthus cinnamomeus


, 1840,

Simien Mountains, north Ethiopia


See comments under A. richardi and A. similis. Race latistriatus, treated in HBW as a species, now lumped in line with most other authorities as case for separation insufficiently robust; race winterbottomi sometimes placed as a race of latistriatus (when latter treated specifically) or of A. similis, or even synonymized with nominate race of A. nyassae. Race camaroonensis sometimes considered a separate species; described race katangae (from L Musole, in SE DRCongo) merged with lichenya. The taxon “Kimberley Pipit Anthus pseudosimilis”, recognized in HBW, is an amalgam of the present species, A. similis and A. hoeschi, and is invalid#R. Fifteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. camaroonensis Shelley, 1900 – Cameroon Pipit – W Cameroon (Mt Manengouba, Mt Cameroon).
  • A. c. lynesi Bannerman & Bates, 1926 – SE Nigeria, Cameroon, W Chad and SW Sudan.
  • A. c. stabilis Clancey, 1986 – C & SE Sudan, E South Sudan.
  • A. c. cinnamomeus Rüppell, 1840 – African Pipit – W & SE Ethiopian highlands.
  • A. c. eximius Clancey, 1986 – SW Arabia, mainly W Yemen.
  • A. c. annae R. Meinertzhagen, 1921 – Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, SE Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • A. c. itombwensis Prigogine, 1981 – #Rhighlands of E DRCongo.
  • A. c. lacuum R. Meinertzhagen, 1920 – SE Uganda, W & S Kenya and N & C Tanzania.
  • A. c. latistriatus F. J. Jackson, 1899 – perhaps breeds in Itombwe Highlands, in E DRCongo; recorded in SW Uganda, NW Tanzania and W Kenya in non-breeding season.
  • A. c. winterbottomi Clancey, 1985 – highlands of NE Zambia, N Malawi, S Tanzania and NW Mozambique.
  • A. c. lichenya Vincent, 1933 – NE Angola, S & E DRCongo, and from W Uganda S to N & E Zambia, C Malawi, adjacent NW Mozambique, and Zimbabwe plateau.
  • A. c. spurium Clancey, 1951 – SE Tanzania S to NE Namibia, Zambezi Valley and coastal lowlands of Mozambique.
  • A. c. bocagii Nicholson, 1884 – W & S Angola S to Namibia, Botswana, W Zimbabwe and NW South Africa (Northern Cape).
  • A. c. grotei Niethammer, 1957 – N Namibia and N Botswana.
  • A. c. rufuloides Roberts, 1936 – South Africa (except NW), Swaziland and Lesotho lowlands.
  • Also S Congo (unknown subspecies)#R.

    Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 18–31g. Large, slim, long-legged and long-tailed, well-marked pipit. Nominate race has buff lores and broad supercilium, dark brown eyestripe, buffish... read more


    Song, from perch or in flight, brief, of simple repeated notes, “tree-tree-tree” or “sreet-sreet-... read more


    Grassland, including fallow fields and other agricultural land, edges of pans, also recently burnt... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small invertebrates, also seeds and other vegetable matter. In one study, grasshoppers (Acrididae) and beetles (Coleoptera) found in 69% of... read more


    Mainly before or during rains: breeds in Feb–Apr in Cameroon Highlands, Apr in Ethiopia, May–Jun in Uganda, Mar–Jul and... read more


    S populations mostly migratory, move N & E to as far as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread throughout most of range; rare in Arabia. Pipits occurring commonly around L Chad and in Mali in non-breeding... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tyler, S. (2020). African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).