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his is a large pipit at 15 cm, but is otherwise an undistinguished looking bird, mainly streaked grey-brown above and pale below with breast streaking. It is long legged with a long tail and a long dark bill. Sexes are similar. Summer and winter plumages are similar. Young birds are more richly coloured below than adults and have the pale edges to the feather's of the upper parts more conspicuous with more prominent spotting on the breast. The population waitei from north-western India and Pakistan is pale while the population malayensis from the Western Ghats is larger, darker and more heavily streaked with the nominate rufulus intermediate.
It is a resident (non-migratory) breeder in open scrub, grassland and cultivation in southern Asia east to the Philippines. Although among the few breeding pipits in the Asian region, identification becomes difficult in winter when several other species migrate into the region. The taxonomy of the species is complex and has undergone considerable changes.