Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Least Concern

Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae)


French: Pipit austral German: Australspornpieper Spanish: Bisbita neozelandés

Alauda novae Seelandiae

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Queen Charlotte’s Sound, South Island, New Zealand


See A. richardi. New Guinean and Australian races often considered to represent a separate species, or race exiguus suggested as one species and the four Australian races as another#R; also, recent evidence suggests that some populations on offshore islands may merit subspecific or even specific status. Proposed race subaustralis (WC Western Australia) merged with australis; likewise, reischeki and taupoensis (both North Island, New Zealand) synonymized with nominate. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. n. exiguus Greenway, 1935 – EC New Guinea.
  • A. n. rogersi Mathews, 1913 – coastal NW Australia E to Cape York Peninsula.
  • A. n. bilbali Mathews, 1912 – SW Western Australia and SC South Australia.
  • A. n. australis Vieillot, 1818 – Australian Pipit – WC, C, E & SE Australia.
  • A. n. bistriatus (Swainson, 1838) – Tasmania, and islands in Bass Strait (King I, Flinders I).
  • A. n. novaeseelandiae (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – New Zealand Pipit – New Zealand.
  • A. n. chathamensis L. Lorenz von Liburnau, 1902 – Chatham Is.
  • A. n. aucklandicus G. R. Gray, 1862 – Auckland Is and Campbell Is#R.
  • A. n. steindachneri Reischek, 1889 – Antipodes Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm. Large, well-built, slender-billed pipit with streaked underparts. Nominate race has narrow white supercilium, dark eyestripe faint in front of eye, broad and... read more


    Song, in flight, a short descending trill or a quavering, trilled "tiz-wee-ir". Plaintive... read more


    Any open, short grassland, as well as roadsides, coastal dunes and clearings in forest; often on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, small crabs and other invertebrate prey, and grass seeds. In 80% of 57 gizzards in one study, invertebrates comprised 90% or more... read more


    Mainly Aug–Dec, but recorded in all months; may have 2–3 clutches per year. Sings in undulating display-flight. Nest a deep... read more


    Largely sedentary or locally nomadic, but some redistribution occurs between the summer and winter... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to very common. Very common in grasslands in W & SE Australia, where densities of 0·07–0·22... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tyler, S. (2020). Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae). 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 16 February 2020).