Tree Pipits


 By Andrew Calvesbert


Tree Pipits were called in some of the older bird books  Meadow Larks or Short-heeled Larks. The later name because of it having a shorter hind claw than other pipits

It closely resembles the Meadow Pipit, but can be identified by the experienced fancier by the Meadow Pipit having a much longer hind claw, 10-13mm, the Tree Pipits are a lot shorter 7-9mm. 

The Tree Pipit can be a little shy, but is far more confident and calmer than the Meadow Pipit.
Tree Pipits are the slightly larger of the two and also appear to have a more fuller shape, the gait of the tree is a more noticeable as it seems to crouch down where as the meadow seems to hold its body in a upwardly position.  All these differences are more noticed when both species are able to be viewed together.


A pair of mine nested in a smallish flight, 6ft x6ft x 3ft, with just a small conifer at ground level in the corner of the aviary.
The first signs i had noticed were when the soil had been scraped out to reveal a small depression into the earth, this was soon to be lined with small plant roots and animal hair.


Whilst sitting the hen sat very tight and could be approached within a few inches.
The incubation lasts for around 13 days. 
The eggs of pipits are some of the prettiest of our native birds. They can even vary in the same clutch. Some are a dark chocolate colour others a mottled grey


If you are successful and chicks hatch they will need plenty of live food, for the first few days they will want small insects like mini mealworms, buffalo worms, fruit flies and crickets.


The chicks grow at an alarming rate and are able to leave the nest from as early as 10 days if disturbed, but normally about 13 days. 
The parents will feed the youngsters for about 7 to 10 days after fledging Tree Pipits can have 2 -3 broods during a season.

A good large steady Tree Pipit is a pleasure to see on the show bench and should do well for the fancier

The cage can be decorated with various mosses and heather with a nice log or branch will enable a bird to show itself.

If you are able to show a pair and they are both in good condition this will enhance your success on the show stage, as a good pair should gain that little bit extra and win over a single specimen!