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Hellmayr's Pipit - BirdForum Opus

Photo by pablo
Perito Moreno, Rio Negro, Argentina, January 2006
Anthus hellmayri


Subspecies brasilianus
Photo by Xyko Paludo
Capão Alto, SC, Brazil, February 2017

14-14.8 cm (5½-6 in). A smallish pipit.

  • Dusky-streaked whitish eyering and supercilium
  • Small blackish moustachial stripe
  • Pale buff upperparts with bold blackish-brown streaks
  • Dusky wings, primaries and tertials edged whitish, secondaries edged buff (forming patch), wing-coverts edged buff (two wingbars)
  • Dusky tail
  • White throat
  • Buffy white underparts with dusky streaks on breast and flanks
  • Buffy white underwing-coverts

Sexes similar. Juveniles with whitish feather edges on upperparts and more buff below.

Similar species

Short-billed Pipit has less bold streaks on back, and both this and Puna Pipit have wider breast streaks and a prominent malar stripe. Paramo Pipit has more buff upperparts with darker streaks, and darker underparts with less extensive and paler streaks.


Southern South America: in southern Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, southeast Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.
Locally common.



Three subspecies recognized[1]:

  • A. h. hellmayri in the Andes of southern Peru (Puno) to Bolivia and northwest Argentina (Tucumán)
  • A. h. dabbenei in the Andes of western Argentina (western Neuquén and western Chubut) and adjacent Chile
  • A. h. brasilianus from southeast Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro) to Uruguay and northern Argentina

Recent DNA studies suggest that the nominate subspecies and brasilianus may be distinctive enough to represent two separate species.


Found in grassland. Often in moist puna in the western part of its range up to 3700 m, in rocky hillsides, pastures and agricultural land in the eastern parts of its range, up to 750 m, locally higher.



Picks insect from the ground or from short vegetation in grassland.


Breeding season November to January in Bolivia. The male makes a short display-flight, climbing up vertically while singing and then making a spiralling descent in wide circles with wings held high. No more information about breeding.


The subspecies dabbenei migrates north in the austral winter. Other subspecies are resident.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.2). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2015)

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