Anthus crenatus (African rock pipit, Rock pipit) 

Klipkoester [Afrikaans]; Tšase-ea-thaba, Tšase-tatalana [South Sotho]; Kopjespieper [Dutch]; Pipit des rochers [French]; Klippenpieper [German]; Petinha-das-rochas [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 crenatus (African rock pipit, Rock pipit)  

African rock pipit. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Endemic to South Africa and Lesotho, occurring from southern Mpumalanga through the Free State and Lesotho to the Eastern Cape, marginally extending into the Western and Northern Cape. It generally prefers open areas with rocky outcrops, bushes and grass tufts, such as on mountains, hills in the Karoo and the escarpment.

Distribution of African rock 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.  


It mainly forages on the ground, feeding on insects, spiders and seeds.


  • The nest is a shallow cup of grass, roots and twigs, lined with finer strips of grass and seed plumes and concealed among grass tufts growing between rocks.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-January, peaking in November.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for at least 12-13 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 12-13 days.


Not threatened, as at least 10% of its population occurs within protected areas, however it has been negatively affected by the creation of plantations in the east of its distribution.


  • 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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