Red-throated Pipit

Casual in the Pribilofs, but likely overlooked due to its skulky nature and habitat preference (open grassy areas), Red-throated Pipits pass through in the last few weeks of May and first two weeks in June. This species is a Trans-Beringian migrant, wintering in the old world and breeding (in part) along the tip of the Seward Peninsula. It is very likely that this species moves through in decent numbers in fall, especially during mid and late September. Adults, if seen on the ground should prove relatively easy to identify, look for the reddish head and breast and unpatterened nape. In fall, especially with juvenile birds identification is more complex. Look especially for the lack of primary extension past the tertials, and bold white mantle stripes. A very similar species, the Pechora Pipit, has not yet been recorded in the Pribilofs but has recently been shown to be regular in fall on Saint Lawrence. On Pechora Pipit the primaries extend past the tertials, the wing bars and mantle stripes are typically bolder and the bill is more extensively pink based. It should be noted that Tree Pipit has occurred in Alaska, this species lacks white mantle stripes and will show heavily streaks on the breast and upper flanks, sharply demarked from the fine streaks on the lower flanks. Often the best clue that Red-throated Pipits are on the island is an auditory one. When flushed, and often during flight Red-throated Pipits give a high piercingtsssseeeeeecall which drops in pitch at the end.

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