Appearance The Plain-backed Pipit is a small bird, 6.5" (17cm) long. A plain-looking bird, with a 'mantle' of brown fur on its upper back. The buffy coloured underparts have slight streaks on the breast. Its facial features are brown, which include a white superciliary (eyebrow) stripe. Its flight feathers and tail are dark-ish brown, with white edges. It is sometimes confused with the Grassland Pipit, which has heavier stripes on the back and breast. Some field guides refer to this bird, found in the Mara GR and central Rift Valley, as a Buffy Pipit (Anthus vaalensis), a somewhat paler-looking bird, but I have found no scientific evidence to support this.
Habits The Plain-backed Pipit is seen either in pairs or on its own. It pumps its tail up and down, like a Wagtail. Buffy Pipits perch on rocks, or the top of Termite mounds, rarely on trees or bushes. Often see standing very erect, it makes quick dashes on its long legs, before coming to a sudden halt.
Diet The Plain-backed Pipit eats insects.
Resident The Plain-backed Pipit is commonly found in the west of Kenya, as far east as Nairobi, below 2000m.
Extra Facts The Plain-backed Pipit will 'kneel' to eat its food.
Photographs Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.