I have for many years had an interest in the pipits up here (Darwin)
but other than discussing them and showing them to visitors, have
not ventured further into researching why they differ from those
illustrated as Richard's Pipit in the field guides. This is mainly
because of a lack of suitable detailed references: I have heaps of
books, but all (Aust & non-Aust) show Richard's Pipit in the same
way, none of which match the Top End birds.
The birds have a white throat and buff brow, typical of Richard's
Pipit. The main difference seems to be the underpart streaking.
Compared with 'southern' pipits, the streaking on the underparts is
denser, longer, blacker, and more extensive, clearly going down
the flanks and in some instances almost to the undertail coverts.
There may be two 'types' up here, since the ones present at the
moment are not the heavily marked ones. Ian may be right in
suggesting they are a Wet Season phenomenon.
I had checked them previously against Pechora but discounted this
on the basis of the leg and tail length (which seem suitable for
Richard's) and lack of whitish V on the mantle. I have for a long
time carefully checked every pipit I see, but I'll look even more
carefully this Wet (if any are about) and in the meantime may
check to see if I have anything useful in my notes anyway.
Have a nice day,
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