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….
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.
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:
Above: Nominate Olive-backed Pipit ssp. hodgsoni or Tree Pipit, Balid Farms, Oman, 9th January 2015, Alex Ollé.
To compare, some yunnanensis
and Tree Pipit to compare
The upper parts streaking of Tree Pipits sis closer to the souther form of Olive-bacled Pipit- hodgsoni.