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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Water Pipit -- Anthus spinoletta

RANGE: Breeds on the Arctic tundra and in the mountains of the West and in Maine. Winters on the Pacific Coast from British Columbia south, and from the southern United States south through Mexico into Central America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Breeds in alpine and arctic habitats with rough features such as tussocks, tilted rocks, or eroded spots for nest sites. Requires nesting habitat that is free of snow early in the breeding season; prefers moss-grown slopes with southern exposures.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Alpine or arctic tundra with some rough features.

NEST: Builds nest on the ground in the shelter of a rock or bank, beside a mossy hummock, or at the base of a tussock.

FOOD: Forages while walking, gleaning food from the ground and low vegetation. Eats seeds of grasses and weeds, insects, spiders, mites, small mollusks, and crustaceans.

REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Gibb 1956, Sutton and Parmalee 1954a, Terres 1980, Verbeek 1970.

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