Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Least Concern

Hellmayr's Pipit (Anthus hellmayri)


French: Pipit de Hellmayr German: Hellmayrpieper Spanish: Bisbita pálido

Anthus hellmayri

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1909,

Río Salí, Tucumán, Argentina


Molecular analyses suggest close relationship with A. spragueii, A. furcatus and A. bogotensis; all may belong to a clade with A. lutescens, A. correndera and A. antarcticus. Assertion in HBW that race brasilianus differs “significantly in size, plumage colour and pattern, and voice”, and hence potentially represents a separate species, difficult to reconcile with museum and vocal evidence: it is somewhat smaller (at least 1), with pale markings above buffier and darker markings browner, less grey (1), and underparts slightly buffier, including on vent rather than becoming whitish (1); while on available recordings no differences in song are detectable#R. Race dabbenei possibly inseparable from nominate, but geographically remote. Three subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. h. hellmayri E. J. O. Hartert, 1909 – Hellmayr's Pipit – E Andean slopes from SE Peru (Puno, recorded in Ayacucho#R) S to NW Argentina (S to Tucumán and La Rioja, also in Sierras de Córdoba).
  • A. h. dabbenei Hellmayr, 1921 – highlands of S Argentina in Neuquén S to W Chubut, also SE Río Negro (Somuncurá Plateau); also adjacent S Chile.
  • A. h. brasilianus Hellmayr, 1921 – Brazilian Pipit – SE Brazil (S from Espírito Santo), SE Paraguay, NE & E Argentina (Corrientes, E Buenos Aires) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–14·8 cm. Rather small pipit. Nominate race has dusky-streaked whitish supercilium and eyering, small blackish moustachial stripe; pale buff upperparts boldly... read more


    Song, from perch (fence post, rock) or in air, varied, “zilid zilid zidel-zi, zi arr” or “tu-tee-... read more


    Grassland: often moist open grassland in puna zone in W, to 3600 m (race dabbenei... read more

    Food and feeding

    Data on food preferences lacking. Forages in grassland in manner of other pipits, picking insects from the ground or from short vegetation.


    Breeds Nov–Jan in Bolivia. Short display-flight, male climbs almost vertically while singing, makes spiralling descent in wide... read more


    S race dabbenei migrates N in austral winter; present in SC Chile during Sept–Mar.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally uncommon to frequent as a breeding species. Status in Argentina poorly understood; seems to be fairly common in Tucumá... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tyler, S. & de Juana, E. (2020). Hellmayr's Pipit (Anthus hellmayri). 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).