1st for Oman- nominate Olive-backed Pipit?

Anthus hodgsoni hodgsoni or not?

It remains a beautiful and quintessentially ‘Siberian’ vagrant passerine. The Olive-backed Pipits we normally get in Western Europe are of the more northerly breeding, long distance migratory form yunnanensis– with typically weakly streaked upperparts.

The nominate form ‘hodgsoni’ is a shorter distance migrant of more southerly distribution and so understandably less likely to reach where I live :). Olive backed Pipit is on the ‘garden list’ of where I live now though before we got here- so maybe one day.

One record of a bird showing some characters of nominate hodgsoni was recorded by one of the Birding Frontiers team. Thats one’s still be looked into as it would be a European first…

Following that Oscar Campbell wrote up 3 birds showing characteristics if hodgsoni in the United Arab Emirates (Birding World Vol 26 no. 11). The most recent of these was in November 2013 in the U.A.E..

Oman, January 2015

Alex writes in:

“Hello, after a voyage to Oman / UAE between 1 and 11 January 2015, we wanted to inform Oscar Campbell about various interesting birds we observed. Among them are two Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni hodgsoni (nominate!) observed the 9th January 2015 in Balid Farms, Oman. According to his article on Birding World 26 and commentary, this involves moving the first observation in Oman and 4th for Western Palearctic….

Alex Ollé.

Features of  nominate hodgsoni

Key features of nominate hodgsoni are more heavily streaked upper parts, more evenly and  streaked crown (thicker streaks) and on some (with overlap) more heavily streaked flanks. The latter is not apparent on Alex’s bird but the first two features on this more worn individual are. Also note the fore supercilium is not quite so strikingly colourful as on many autumn Olive-backed Pipits we see in Europe.

Sooooo

Is this hodgsonsi or a worn/scruffy Tree Pipit? I maybe rushed it (bit of tendency these days). Maybe it is just a Tree Pipit….  Some good friends are asking. As ever- have look for yourself:

Anthus hodgsoni 1a Anthus hodgsoni 2 a

Above: Nominate Olive-backed Pipit ssp. hodgsoni or Tree Pipit, Balid Farms, Oman, 9th January 2015, Alex Ollé.

To compare, some yunnanensis

 

Olive- backed Pipit yunannensis, Baltasound, Shetland, October 2011. Martin Garner

Olive- backed Pipit yunannensis, Baltasound, Shetland, October 2011. Martin Garner

Olive- backed Pipit  sip, yunnanensis  Hestingott, South Mainland, Shetland, October 2012 Martin Garner

Olive- backed Pipit sip, yunnanensis Hestingott, South Mainland, Shetland, October 2012 Martin Garner

Olive- backed Pipit yunannensis, Baltasound, Shetland, October 2011. Stef McElwee

Olive- backed Pipit yunannensis, Baltasound, Shetland, October 2011. Stef McElwee

 and Tree Pipit to compare

The upper parts streaking of Tree Pipits sis closer to the souther form of Olive-bacled Pipit- hodgsoni.

Tree Pipit, Unst, Shetland, October 2012. Martin Garner

Tree Pipit, Unst, Shetland, October 2012. Martin Garner

 

4 thoughts on “1st for Oman- nominate Olive-backed Pipit?

  1. Geoff Carey

    The Oman bird does not look like OBP to me, which is a common winter visitor to HK where I live. The fine streaks and lack of buffish on the lower flanks, the Pechora-like pattern of streaks head-on, the dense dark streaking on the mantle, the relatively large bill, the fairly cold tone to the upperparts and the very poorly-marked face pattern do not fit OBP. It is also rather worn, much more so than OBPs in HK at the same time. If I saw this bird in HK, I would be very excited, and pretty soon would be thinking of Tree Pipit!

    This bird might make people think that the two subspecies of OBP are very different, which does not seem to be the case, based on birds I’ve seen on breeding and wintering grounds in east Asia.

    Reply
  2. Kari Haataja

    I have photos of ssp hodgsoni taken in Langtang Valley in Nepal and those birds look the same as ssp yunnanensis but streaking is heavy on the upperside and also on the sides. The Oman bird looks Tree Pipit to me with the same criteria which Geoff already wrote above.

    Best regards,
    Kari Haataja

    Reply
  3. James Eaton

    I agree with Geoff, I would also be quite excited if I saw this in south-east Asia – I haven’t seen an OBP with upperparts so dark and streaky as this, poorly-marked head pattern and cold-tones to the plumage would all point against hodgsoni OBP for me.

    Reply

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