Saturday, 28 September 2013

Looking for Richard

For the past 2 days, I've been driving around in the plantation plots at Mae Hia Agricultural College looking for Richard's Pipits which have already been reported since few days back. Despite being one of the commonest pipits in Asia, it is pretty scarce in Thailand, I think. In Chiang Mai, I've only seen it in this area and never in big number. Or maybe it is actually more widespread than I thought, but identifying it is so challenging that most people give up.

Adult Richard's Pipit
Note moulting throat and neck feathers

Adult Richard's Pipit

Not a good photo but it was the only photo that I got of this bird in flight.
To me, it is much easier to identify in flight because Richard's look much obviously heavier built
than Paddyfield while it's flying than when standing on the ground.
Also, their explosive flight call "shreep!" can immediately eliminate Paddyfield from our choices.

With an albino feral pigeon in the background

Very upright posture!

Once you get used to seeing Paddyfield Pipits, you'll notice the different shape and posture this bird.

Sometimes looking almost thrush-like

Very typical view of this species; upright posture while look out
Apart from the differences in plumage and call, both species also differ in behaviours as well. Richard's being much shyer and more secretive, mainly stays in longer grass, except when all the plots are ploughed in dry season, while Paddyfield being much more showy and approachable. The first 2 shots of Richard's Pipit were taken from a car, that's why it was relatively close. Otherwise, they would normally flush since some 30-50 metres away!

Never to be mistaken with this Paddyfield Pipit!
Note dark lores, more slender and pointed bill

Another showy Paddyfield Pipit for comparison

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos. I'm still hoping to stumble across one of these in Japan some time.........