Tips And Information For Photographing The Tree Pipit

Find out more about the habitat and habits of the tree pipit, plus how to photograph it.

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tree pipit


According to the legend, when the time came for birds to be given colours, the tree pipit was the last one on the list. There were only a few drops of paint left, which is why its feathers are not very colorful. In fact, the Tree pipit is mainly brown and males and females bear the same plumage. Yellowish or greenish stitches may appear on the back, but all individuals have distinct black longitudinal stripes. The bright breast also has a dark striped pattern; the throat is slightly yellowish. The head is of a bright brown, with more or less dark streaks above the eyes.



Except for few areas (e.g., Iceland, Ireland and Southern Spain), the Tree pipit spreads throughout Europe and Asia. These delicate birds are long-distance migrants. During winters, they fly from Europe to south Sahara and from north to south Asia in countries such as India, Pakistan or southern Iran.

As its name implies, the Tree pipit enjoys forested areas. The tree species doesn’t matter: it breeds in both thorny and deciduous forests. However, it is important that in addition to tall trees, the area also has sufficient flat areas with herbaceous growth. One can picture the Tree pipit in forest edges, clearings, orchards or moors.

Photographing tips

The Tree pipits do not breed in tall treetops, but in well-protected hollows on the ground. Every year, they come back to the same breeding area (lucky you if you have spotted a nest!). The ideal breeding area has tall trees so that the birds can watch the surroundings and sing loudly. However, as forest edges and clearings can be displaced by human intervention, the birds became more flexible. In Central Europe, many have already migrated to higher altitudes.

Tree pipits eat all kinds of insects such as butterflies, beetles, cicadas, ants and spiders. Despite their colorless plumage, they are not easy to forget: their singing is like no one else. It is characterized by an unobtrusive, hearty singing. When a male rises in the air and starts its cheerful song and glides singing back to earth, all eyes are on him.


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