Today I observed Olive-backed Pipits. This species exhibits strong preference to pine forest. The most important point of habitat is the presence of pine, not structure of underlayer. The foraging of Olive-backed is "picking up" on the ground of pine forest. I don't know the reason why, Olive-backed more prefer Japanese Black Pine forest than Japanese Red Pine forest. I thought that maybe the most important point of habitat selection of this species is the character of bare ground ; hard and well-drained soil. However it was inaccurate. Because they also live in windbreak forests near the sea. The bottom of the forest is almost sandy beach. Pine nuts are the common food of this species and they contain many fat contents.
Many Japanese are confused by subspecies identification of Olive-backed. I heard that it is not simple and difficult to judge the subspecies with traits. And now, there are many hypothesis but not been proven. So I use the ward "type" in this article. Until now, there are 2 subspecies in Japan ; A.h.hodgsoni and A.h.yunnanensis. A.h.hodgsoni is more common and breed in Japan, A.h.yunnanensis is not common and more paler plumage. This photos are taken 2years ago I observed in Kyushu that about 1000km south from Tokyo. Front individual is more paler than back one, more small patch on upperparts, less olive-tone and more small patch on underparts. So I though this individual is A.h.yunnanensis-type.
This pic was taken in May so this individual maybe almost finish pre-breeding molt. Less olive-tone and small patch suggested that this individual is A.h.yunnanensis-type. A.h.hodgsoni type breeds in Japan exhibits more strong olive-tone. The change of traits are continuously so it is difficult to distinguish the subspecies. Anyway, Olive-backed lives in pine forest so they can fly to just above. Their wing length is shorter than Buff-bellied and Water pipit.
オオモミジ (Acer amoenus) 151201 Chiba
Beautiful autumn leaves. It is seasonal tradition of fall in Japan. I cannot believe now is December. Time flies!