Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana)


French: Fauvette naine German: Wüstengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca enana

Curruca nana

Hemprich and Ehrenberg

, 1833,

El Tor, Sinai Peninsula, north-east Egypt


Until recently considered conspecific with S. deserti (which see). Proposed race theresae (described from Sind, in SE Pakistan) falls within range of individual variation of rest of the population. Monotypic.


From N & E Caspian Sea coasts and NE Iran E to C & S Mongolia and NW China; non-breeding NE Africa (mostly along Red Sea coast) and Arabia E to NW India.

Descriptive notes

11·5 cm; 7–10·6 g. Small and compact, rather short-tailed warbler with relatively short wings. Adult breeding is drab greyish-brown above, with... read more


Song, from inside cover or treetop, sometimes from ground or in song flight, rather short (c. 1... read more


Favours steppe-desert and semi-desert areas covered with Artemisia, low scrub and grasses... read more

Food and feeding

Apparently mostly small insects, also some seeds and berries. Invertebrate food includes adult and larval butterflies and moths (... read more


Laying from late Apr in Turkmenistan, from May in Mongolia. Apparently always monogamous; solitary, territorial breeder. In song flight,... read more


A long-distance migrant, with non-breeding range from NE Africa and S Israel E to S & E Iran... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to very common in more suitable breeding habitats, and scarce to common on wintering grounds. Estimates of breeding population... read more

Recommended citation

Aymí, R., Gargallo, G. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).