The meadow pipit is a small brown bird with black streaking on a white breast and belly. It is long about 15 cm and very light (between 15g and 22g). Its beak and legs are pinkish.
It’s very common throughout Ireland and Mayo. It lives in bogs, scrub and grassy farmland.
Its diet mainly consists of insects and other invertebrates, but in wintertime it also eats seeds of grasses, sedges, rushes, heather and berries.
Meadow pipit is the main Irish host for cuckoo. The cuckoo lays its eggs in the pipit’s nest and when the chicks are born, they pushed the pipit eggs or chicks out of the nest. Pipit parents will continue to feed cuckoo chicks.
The generic name 'pipit’, first documented by Thomas Pennant in 1768, is onomatopoeic, from the call note of this little bird.
Its name is Anthus pratensis and in Irish it is called Riabhog mhona.
(Photo by Mark Carmody)