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"The soil of the Sahara," says Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun. (" Ibis," 1871, p. 85), "is in some places soft and sandy, in others hard and pebbly. The Tawny Pipit affects the former, where there is little or no herbage. Its flight is undulating, like that of the Wagtails; and, like the latter, it twitters on the wing." Canon Tristram, referring to the habits of this species in Palestine, where he obtained several nests on the bare hills, says ("Ibis," 1866, p. 289), "It is one of the tamest of birds, and particularly affects the mule paths, flitting along in front of the traveller, and keeping unconcernedly a few yards ahead." "The nest," says Mr. Salvin, "is composed of roots, with a lining of horsehair, and is placed on the lee side of a bush. The eggs vary very much, some being light-coloured, and almost like wagtails', while others are much darker and more profusely marked."
Although, as above stated, North Africa and Palestine may be regarded as its home, the Tawny Pipit ranges a long way to the north and south of this tract, and is common in some parts of Southern Europe in summer. It is found as far northward as Sweden—where, as Mr. Wheelwright has remarked, it is confined to the sandy shores of the south—and accidentally in England, where specimens have been several times procured on the coasts of Sussex, and in Cornwall.1
Lord Lilford has observed that it is common in Spain in summer (" Ibis," 1866, p. 178), an observation more recently confirmed by Mr. Howard Saunders ("Ibis," 1869, p. 392). In Portugal, according to the Rev. A. C. Smith, it seems to be equally well known.
It is annually observed in Malta in spring and autumn, but never found there during the winter months (Wright, "Ibis," 1864, p. 61). Lieut. Sperling, however, believes that it is not uncommon on the north coast of the Mediterranean in winter. South of the habitat assigned to it, this bird ranges through Abyssinia (whence I have seen a specimen in the collection of African birds belonging to Mr. Sharpe) to Mozambique, where, according to Lieut. Sperling, it is plentiful in winter; and Mr. Layard has included it amongst the birds of South Africa, having received specimens from Windvogelberg and the Knysna. It has a West African representative in Anthus Gouldiioi Frazer (Hartlaub, "Orn. West Afr.," P- 73)> which differs in its smaller size and darker colour, and in having the head of a uniform dull brown, instead of being streaked.
1 Cf. Dawson Rowley, "Ibis," 1863, p. 37, and 1865, p. 113; Bond, "Zoologist," 1870, pp. 1984 and 2383; and Rodd, "Zoologist," 1868, p. 1458.
THE PENNSYLVANIAN PIPIT.
this species is stated to have occurred several times in the British Islands; but the general description of the specimens referred to applies as a rule so well to the Anthus spinoletta above mentioned, that it is extremely difficult to say to which of the two species they belonged. It is of course far more probable that the visitors to our shores would be of European, not American, extraction. At the same time they have been described as according so well in every respect with the American ludovicianus, that we must either admit that the latter bird occasionally visits this country, or agree with Richardson and Swainson (" Faun. Bor. Americana," ii. p. 231) that it is indistinguishable from aquaticus of Bechstein, that is, spinoletta of Linnaeus.
Edwards was the first to notice this bird as a visitant to England, giving a description and figure of a specimen obtained near London in his "Gleanings" (vol. ii. p. 185, pi. 297). Montagu shortly afterwards noticed two in his "Ornithological Dictionary," one of which had been taken in Middlesex, the other near Woolwich.
Macgillivray, in his "Manual of British Birds," p. 169, minutely describes two Pipits which were shot near Edinburgh in June, 1824,
and which he identifies clearly with the American species.
Mr. Turnbull, in his " Birds of East Lothian," states (p. 40) that three Pennsylvanian Pipits were shot at Dunbar in East Lothian by Mr. Robert Gray, of Glasgow.
Mr. Bond has a Pipit, identified as belonging to this species, which was obtained at Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, in September, 1865; while the most recent instance of the occurrence of this Pipit in England will be found in the "Zoologist" for 1870. But anyone who reads the correspondence relating to this instance ("Zool." torn. cit. pp. 2021, 2067, and 2100) will see how difficult it is to identify a species when the specimen is not in fully adult plumage.
When it is remembered that Antkus ludovicianus, as stated by Professor Reinhardt (" Ibis," 1861, p. 3), breeds in Greenland, and, according to Professor Blasius, is found in Heligoland (" Naumannia," 1858), it is certainly not improbable that it should occasionally be found in the British Islands. At the same time it is very