Pipit is the common name for some birds of the family Motacillidae, which also includes wagtails. The family, comprising 65 species, occurs worldwide except on some oceanic islands. Only 3 species occur regularly in Canada: yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava), American pipit (Anthus rubescens) and Sprague's pipit (A. spragueii).
These small passerines (perching birds) range in length from 12 to 22 cm. Plumage varies from black, grey or brown, to olive or yellow and may be plain or streaked. Outer tail feathers are often white. The bill tends to be long, slender and pointed. Legs and toes are often long; the hind toe is elongated in most species.
Pipits and wagtails are mainly terrestrial and habitually "wag" their tails when on the ground. These birds have simple, repetitive songs, often delivered in flight, sometimes very high above the ground.
Pipits feed primarily on insects, spiders and small molluscs. They are gregarious, particularly out of breeding season.
The nest is a cuplike, sometimes domed, structure built on the ground, in rock cavities, walls or trees. Parents share incubation of the 2-7 speckled eggs and feeding of young.