Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The breeding population, which is confined to Europe, is estimated to number 164,000-281,000 pairs, which equates to 329,000-562,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.


This species occupies exposed rocky sea coasts and islands with low vegetation. It occasionally breeds away from coast, such as on St. Kilda (western Scotland), or on islands in large inland lakes, such as in southern Sweden. It can also occur inland along estuaries and at various wetlands or along less rocky coasts, during migration and in winter. Breeding occurs from mid-March to August and varies with latitude. The nest is built by the female in a crevice in a cliff, in a small cavity on a bank or grassy slope, or under a rock or clump of vegetation. It is as a bulky cup of grass stems, leaves and seaweed and rather flimsily lined with finer material. Clutches are four to six eggs. It feeds primarily on invertebrates but will also take seeds. The species is resident and migratory: the nominate race is largely resident, with some short-distance dispersal; kleinschmidti may move short distances inland to rivers and lakes or to sandy shores; littoralis is migratory (Tyler 2016).


There are few threats to this species’s habitat. Locally, oil pollution on rocky shores can have an adverse, although generally temporary, effect on this species’s invertebrate prey (Tyler 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Locally, the enforcement of stricter legislation on oil transportation would be beneficial to this species.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Anthus petrosus. Downloaded from on 29/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/11/2022.