Yellow-tufted Pipit Anthus crenatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is considered to have a small population size, which may be declining at a moderate rate based on Southern African Bird Atlas Project data. The rate of decline is uncertain though, and so the species is listed as Near Threatened. Further information about population structure and rates of decline may mean that this species warrants uplisting in the future.

Population justification
The global population size was estimated by Taylor et al. (2015) as 3,300-8,900 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species may have undergone a population size reduction over the past 10 years based on a decline of c.34% in Area of Occupancy (based on comparisons of South African Bird Atlas Project data) and c.11% in Extent of Occurrence, although this may be in part influenced by incomplete sampling in part of its range (Taylor et al. 2015). Lee et al. (2017) instead suggest a range decline of 13% (with a core range decline of 9% since 1992). Given the uncertainty over the rate of decline, the species is cautiously suspected to be undergoing an ongoing decline in the range 10-19%, though further evidence could suggest that the rate of decline is greater than this.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to southern Africa, occurring in South Africa, Lesotho and possibly Swaziland (Taylor et al. 2015). Apart from isolated populations in Northern Cape Province and Gauteng, it has a fairly continuous distribution from the Mpumalanga border with Swaziland, through Free State, into Lesotho, Eastern Cape Province and Western Cape Province (Taylor et al. 2015). It is only marginal in KwaZulu-Natal (Taylor et al. 2015).


This species is closely associated with steep rocky habitats, associated with scattered shrubs or grassy areas, occurring up to 3,000 m (Taylor et al. 2015).


Given its habitat the species is unlikely to be affected by grazing or fire (Taylor et al. 2015), though afforestation may be causing the species to become displaced (Allan et al. 1997). Climate change has been proposed as a future major threat to the species, given its ecological requirements (see Taylor et al. 2015), but it is possible that habitat shifting with climate change may already be in part driving the potential declines in this species (temperatures in South Africa have been reported to be rising [van Wilgen et al. 2016]).; though this will require further work to more fully investigate this.

Conservation actions

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known.

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Conduct research into the species to get better estimates of population size and trends, and gain a better understanding of population structure. Research the ecology of the species. Investigate whether there are any other threats that could be impacting the species. Protect key sites for the species. Monitor the species to better understand the impact of climate change on it (Taylor et al. 2015), and assess whether there are any other significant threats to the species. Re-evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas for this species, given the potential impact of climate change (Coetzee et al. 2009).


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Anthus crenatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2021.