Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)


French: Fauvette épervière German: Sperbergrasmücke Spanish: Curruca gavilana

Motacilla nisoria


, 1792,

central and northern Germany


Geographical variation slight and mostly clinal; race merzbacheri intergrades widely with nominate in region of Urals and elsewhere. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. n. nisoria (Bechstein, 1792) – C Europe (N to S Scandinavia and S Finland) E to S Ural Mts and R Ural, S to N Italy, Balkans, N Turkey and N Iran; winters in E Africa.
  • S. n. merzbacheri Schalow, 1907 – SW Siberia and N Kazakhstan E to Mongolia, and S locally in C Asian mountains to N Afghanistan and W China (W Xinjiang); winters in E Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5 cm; male 19·5–25 g, female 21·1–28·9 g. The largest and most robust of the genus; except in juvenile and first-winter plumages,... read more


    Song, usually from top of tree or bush or during flight (often with wing-clapping), a musical and... read more


    A forest species but can occur in open woodland with variety of structured vegetation: woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insectivorous during breeding season; fruits become steadily more important in diet once breeding finished and just before and... read more


    May–Jul; laying mainly in Jun in Finland; one brood per season. Complex mating system including both monogamy and polygamy; once... read more


    Migratory; all populations spend non-breeding season in E Africa, mainly Kenya and also, less... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common, and widespread. No estimates of world population, owing mainly to lack of precise information on numbers and trends in E of range.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Aymí, R., Gargallo, G. & de Juana, E. (2020). Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria). 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).