I've noticed that more and more Malaysian birders are looking critically at pipits these days, in the hope of finding something other than the 'default' species, Paddyfield Pipit.
This is good!
There are no confirmed records of Richard's Pipit in Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore, and its status in Borneo is unclear. However, as a common and widespread northern breeder migrating to South-east Asia and the Indian subcontinent, it must surely occur.
The trick though, will be to see and hear one well enough to 'clinch the record'. Field observation skills, meticulous note-taking, photography and sound recording, and an obliging bird, will all be critical factors in getting this one 'in the bag'! Anyone up for the challenge?
Blyth's Pipit is, on the face of it, the least likely of the three species to occur, yet at least one has definitely done so (account here), so why not again?
My good friend Peter Harris recently sent me a couple of great photos of Richard's Pipit taken in Hong Kong this winter, and he's allowed me to post them here.
Having spent many hours recently scrutinizing pipits, I am pleasantly surprised how distinctively different this looks from Paddyfield, though, of course, a clear hear of the call would be needed to make absolutely sure.
Below is a comparison of the three species, to give you a few tips to get you started on the hunt for Messrs Richard and Blyth!
Blyth's (left), Paddyfield (centre) and Richard's (right).
I hope the table below is legible. I've had to import it as an image, so I'm afraid the hyperlinks won't work. If anyone knows how to embed a table, please let me know!
Here are those links:
Try playing a few of these simultaneously to pick out the different species!!