• • •American Pipits are similar to the larks but with longer legs, a more slender bill and a habit of bobbing their tail. Their wings and back are a drab brown, while their breast is a buff yellow with dark streaks that run around its flanks.
They’re distinguished from Sprague’s Pipit by their darker legs, longer tail, more prominent streaking and lack of bold white bars on their wings. During breeding season from March to July the streaks on their breasts may fade completely.
American Pipits are winter visitors to the Gulf Coast after spending their summer breeding in the Arctic and alpine tundra. In winter, they frequent coastal beaches and marshes, mudflats, fields, rivers and ponds, where they feed on seeds and insects, sometimes in large flocks.
They spend most of their time walking upright or running on the ground, pecking at the mud or surrounding vegetation. They change direction frequently and make short, darting flights to pursue prey or evade predators. When flushed, they fly up and circle back around to the ground.