Rock Pipit

Anthus petrosus

What do they look like?

The rock pipit is a small bird with a mottled olive-brown back and creamy grey undersides patterned with dark streaks. Its bill is narrow and pointed like a starling’s and its legs and bill are dark. In the winter its plumage turns greyer with less contrast between the darker and paler parts. Young individuals appear streakier.

When can I see them in Scotland?

The UK has resident populations of rock pipits, meaning they can be seen all year. You might see more in winter, however, when migrant birds arrive from Northern Europe.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

This species is found almost exclusively on the coast, where it breeds and feeds on the molluscs, seeds and invertebrates that it finds amongst the rocks. However, winter migrants from areas of Northern Europe such as Norway can sometimes be sighted inland in rocky areas around reservoirs and lakes.

Conservation status

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Rock Pipits are currently a ‘Green’ listed species.

25 cm
4 - 5
14 - 15 days
15 - 16 days
5 years
Average Lifespan

A Rock pipit perches on a rock encrusted with yellow lichen
© Susan Davies