Translator Disclaimer
14 December 2018 First record of Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus in Central America
Author Affiliations +

More than 40 species of Anthus pipits are currently recognised worldwide (Tyler 2004). Many are long-distance migrants and most are difficult to identify in the field (Hall 1961, King 1981, Alström et al. 2003). Fourteen species occur in the New World, of which eight breed in South America, two regularly nest in North America, and four are vagrants (AOU 1998, Tyler 2004, Remsen et al. 2018). Just two species have been recorded in Central America. American Pipit A. rubescens, which breeds in northern North America and northern Asia (AOU 1998, Tyler 2004), is a rare winter visitor to southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica (Marshall 1943, Howell & Webb 1995, Jones 2003, Eisermann & Avendaño 2007, Jones & Komar 2012; K. Murphy eBird S40583526, Macaulay Library photo 75509601) and Yellowish Pipit A. lutescens, a mainly South American species, is resident in Panama (Ridgely & Gwynne 1989). Here we report a record of Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus in the Guatemalan highlands.

On 15 April 2018, EM photographed a pipit in rocky grassland at Sierra Los Cuchumatanes, 2 km east of La Capellanía (15°24′38.7″N, 91°25′55.3″W), dpto. Huehuetenango, at 3,100 m (Fig. 1). The rufous face, supercilium, throat and upper breast are unique in the genus Anthus to adult Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus (Alström et al. 2003, Tyler 2004). Although the sexes cannot be distinguished with certainty, those with extensive rufous and only weak streaking on the upper breast are probably males (Alström et al. 2003).

The observation is notable because it is the first record of Red-throated Pipit in Central America. In the Neotropics, the species was previously reported only in central and southern Mexico and Ecuador. Mexican records away from the Baja Peninsula include singles in the Pacific slope lowlands of Michoacán in April 1988 (Howell & Webb 1989), Colima in March 1992 (Howell & Webb 1995) and Oaxaca in November 2008 (Gómez de Silva 2009). In coastal Ecuador, a first-winter was documented in March 2008 (Brinkhuizen et al. 2010).

Figure 1.

Adult Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus, Sierra Los Cuchumatanes, dpto. Huehuetenango, Guatemala, 15 April 2018: (a) rocky grassland habitat with the bird in the centre of the image, (b) close-up view of the bird (Esteban Matías)

f01_383.jpg

Red-throated Pipit breeds mainly in Arctic tundra from northern Europe (in Scandinavia) to northern Asia (Dementiev & Gladkov 1954, Glutz von Blotzheim & Bauer 1985), but also in Alaska (Kessel & Gibson 1978). Wintering areas are mainly in the Old World tropics. Western populations (breeding from Scandinavia to the Taimyr Peninsula) are thought to winter in Africa, and eastern populations (east of the Taimyr to Alaska) mainly in South-East Asia (Glutz von Blotzheim & Bauer 1985). Some individuals of the latter population migrate instead south along the eastern Pacific seaboard, indicated by records in the western USA (Roberson 1980, King 1981, Hamilton et al. 2007), Mexico (Howell & Webb 1989, 1995, Erickson et al. 2013), Ecuador (Brinkhuizen et al. 2010) and now Guatemala. The species is now observed almost annually, sometimes in autumn flocks of up to 15 birds, on the Baja California Peninsula, where small numbers winter in the south in some years (Erickson et al. 2012; S. N. G. Howell in litt. 2018). Bird migration routes can be altered by unusual weather conditions (e.g. strong winds), but also by evolutionary processes, e.g. access to more favourable wintering grounds (Berthold et al. 1992, Berthold 2001). Causes of the apparent recent increase in numbers of Red-throated Pipit wintering in the Americas are unknown. It is possible that the species is more frequent in Middle America than the few records suggest. All pipits in the region should be well documented, because especially first-winter birds represent identification challenges (see Brinkhuizen et al. 2010). Other long-distance migrant Anthus could exceptionally occur in Central America, namely Sprague's Pipit A. spragueii which winters in Mexico (Howell & Webb 1995), and three Old World species reported as vagrants in North America (AOU 1998): Tree Pipit A. trivialis, Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni and Pechora Pipit A. gustavi.

Acknowledgements

We thank Steve N. G. Howell and Guy M. Kirwan for comments on the manuscript and editorial input.

References:

1.

Alström, P., Mild, K. & Zetterström, B. 2003. Pipits and wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America.Christopher Helm, London. Google Scholar

2.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU).1998. Check-list of North American birds.Seventh edn.American Ornithologists' Union, Washington DC. Google Scholar

3.

Berthold, P. 2001. Bird migration: a general survey.Second edn.Oxford Univ. Press. Google Scholar

4.

Berthold, P., Helbig, A., Mohr, G. & Querner, U. 1992. Rapid microevolution of migratory behaviour in a wild bird species. Nature 360: 668–670. Google Scholar

5.

Brinkhuizen, D. M., Brinkhuizen, L., Keaveney, A. & Jane, S. 2010. Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus: a new species for South America. Cotinga 32: 98–100. Google Scholar

6.

Dementiev, G. P. & Gladkov, N. A. (eds.) 1954. [Birds of the Soviet Union], vol. 5. Nauka, Moscow. (In Russian.) Google Scholar

7.

Eisermann, K. & Avendaño, C. 2007. Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala / Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala.Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Google Scholar

8.

Erickson, R. A., Carmona, R., Ruiz-Campos, G., Iliff, M. & Billings, M. J. 2013. Annotated checklist of the birds of Baja California and Baja California Sur, second edition. N. Amer. Birds 66: 582–613. Google Scholar

9.

Glutz von Blotzheim, U. & Bauer, K. M. (eds.) 1985. Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Bd.10(2). Aula Verlag, Wiesbaden. Google Scholar

10.

Gómez de Silva, H. 2009. Fall migration, August through November 2008: Mexico. N. Amer. Birds 63: 163–167. Google Scholar

11.

Hall, B. P. 1961. The taxonomy and identification of pipits (genus Anthus). Bull. Brit. Mus. Nat. Hist.7: 245–289. Google Scholar

12.

Hamilton, R. A., Patten, M. A. & Erickson, R. A. 2007. Rare birds of California: a work of the California rare bird record committee.Western Field Ornithologists, Camarillo, CA. Google Scholar

13.

Howell, S. N. G. & Webb, S. 1989. Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) in Michoacán. Aves Mexicanas 2 (89-1): 2. Google Scholar

14.

Howell, S. N. G. & Webb, S. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America.Oxford Univ. Press, New York. Google Scholar

15.

Jones, H. L. 2003. Birds of Belize.Univ. of Texas Press, Austin. Google Scholar

16.

Jones, H. L. & Komar, O. 2012. The winter season, December 2011 through February 2012: Central America. N. Amer. Birds 66: 353–359. Google Scholar

17.

Kessel, B. & Gibson, D. D. 1978. Status and distribution of Alaska birds.Stud. Avian Biol. 1. Cooper Orn. Soc., CA. Google Scholar

18.

King, B. 1981. The field identification of North American pipits. Amer. Birds 35: 778–788. Google Scholar

19.

Marshall, J. T. 1943. Additional information concerning the birds of El Salvador. Condor 45: 21–33. Google Scholar

20.

Remsen, J. V., Areta, J. I., Cadena, C. D., Claramunt, S., Jaramillo, A., Pacheco, J. F., Robbins, M. B., Stiles, F. G., Stotz, D. F. & Zimmer, K. J. 2018. A classification of the bird species of South America. Version 7 July 2018. http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm (accessed 10 July 2018). Google Scholar

21.

Ridgely, R. S. & Gwynne, J. A. 1989. A guide to the birds of Panama, with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.Second edn.Princeton Univ. Press. Google Scholar

22.

Roberson, D. 1980. Rare birds of the west coast of North America.Woodcock Publications, Pacific Grove, CA. Google Scholar

23.

Tyler, S. 2004. Family Motacillidae (pipits and wagtails). Pp. 686–786 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A. (eds.) Handbook of the birds of the world , vol. 9. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Google Scholar
© 2018 The Authors; This is an open‐access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Esteban Matías and Knut Eisermann "First record of Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus in Central America," Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 138(4), 383-385, (14 December 2018). https://doi.org/10.25226/bboc.v138i4.2018.a9
Received: 16 July 2018; Published: 14 December 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
3 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
Back to Top