Anthus chloris (Yellow-breasted pipit) 

[= Hemimacronyx chloris

Geelborskoester [Afrikaans]; Iguru, Iguru-guru [Xhosa]; Geelborstpieper [Dutch]; Pipit gorge jaune [French]; Gelbbrustpieper [German]; Petinha-de-peito-amarelo [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Motacillidae > Genus: Anthus

Anthus chloris (Yellow-breasted pipit)  Anthus chloris (Yellow-breasted pipit) 

Yellow-breasted pipit. [photo Stephen Davis ]

Yellow-breasted pipit, Mpumalaga, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to South Africa, occurring from Mpumalanga through western KwaZulu-Natal and marginally the Free State and Lesotho to the north east of the Eastern Cape. It generally favours lush montane grassland with grass about 15-30 cm high on flat or gently sloping ground; unlike most other pipits it is not attracted to recently burnt areas.

Distribution of Yellow-breasted pipit in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

It is largely resident and sedentary, however in the non-breeding season most descend to lower alititudes.


It does most foraging on the ground feeding on insects, such as grasshoppers (Orthoptera), mantids and small beetles (Coleoptera).


  • It is usually monogamous, nesting solitary with the male defending his territory by aerially displaying and calling; polygmy is rarely recorded.
  • The nest (see image below) is built solely by the female, consisting of an open cup of coarse grass stems and stalks, neatly lined with rootlets, fine grass leaves and hair. It is typically built in a hollow in the ground surrounded and concealed by grass tufts.
Anthus chloris (Yellow-breasted pipit)  

Yellow-breasted pipit nest with chick and eggs, Wakkerstroom, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ]

  • Egg-laying season is from October-March, peaking from November-February.
  • It lays 1-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after approximately 14 days.


Globally Vulnerable due to the destruction of its favoured habitat, montane grassland, from afforestation and overgrazing.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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