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This American/Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens ssp. was photographed in east Houston, TX on December 14, 2005; although the legs are not very pale, they are not the typical blackish of rubescens/pacificus/alticola either - instead they are a medium tone ("darkish flesh") that can be found in a minority of japonicus (a.k.a Siberian Pipit; what percentage of the population?) and also a minority of rubescens/pacificus/alticola (from my personal observations much less than 10%, and most regular in the paler, lighter-streaked pacificus-types).

I feel that many of the other features indicate japonicus rather than the New World forms:-
- wing coverts tips white, thick, and cleanly demarcated from blackish feather bases
- supercilium, submoustacial, and throat strongly white
- solid black triangular malar patch
- broad black upper chest streaking coalescing into a necklace
- extensive thick, crisp blackish streaking continuing well down the flanks
- brownish tone on the dark upperparts with stronger-than-typical upperparts streaking
- warm flank wash that contrasts with the remaining whitish underparts (too early in winter for this contrast to be due to any pre-alternate flank molt plus wear/fading in center, as can be seen on March/April birds)

Click here to see some photos of Siberian Pipits:

For comparison here are two other individuals from the same date/location (but not with the above bird, which seemed be more on its own): the first looks like a pacificus-type; the second a typical rubescens:-