Family Bush-warblers (Scotocercidae)

Least Concern

Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)


French: Bouscarle de Cetti German: Seidensänger Spanish: Cetia ruiseñor

Sylvia cetti


, 1820,



Genetic data#R indicate that races separate into two well-supported clades representing, respectively, E populations and W ones; although morphological variation largely clinal, the two groups differ vocally; study warranted. Otherwise, race orientalis poorly defined, intermediate between nominate and albiventris. Birds from NE Italy and Balkans E to W Asia Minor, larger than nominate and slightly more olive above and greyer below, described as race sericea, possibly worthy of recognition. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. cetti (Temminck, 1820) – W Europe (S from S Britain) and N coast of Mediterranean, throughout Greece and much of S Balkans E to W & NW Black Sea coast; also NW Africa (Morocco E to Tunisia).
  • C. c. orientalis Tristram, 1867 – Turkey, Cyprus and Levant E to Iraq W & S Iran (foothills of Zagros Mts), NW Kazakhstan (from upper R Ural E to R Nura Valley).
  • C. c. albiventris Severtsov, 1873 – S & E Kazakhstan (from R Syrdarya E to L Balkhash and S Altai foothills) and extreme NW China (NW Xinjiang), S to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, NE Iran and NW Afghanistan; non-breeding S Iran, S Afghanistan and Pakistan (S to Sind) and NW India (Punjab, Rajasthan).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; male 10–18·5 g, female 8–16·5 g. Medium-sized robust-looking bush-warbler with fairly short rounded wings and tail... read more


    Song, mostly by male (though female also sings), usually given from thick cover but also from more... read more


    Mainly swampy lowland areas with thick cover of reeds and sparse bushes (rarely in uniform reedbeds... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food consists mostly of damselflies (Odonata), aphids and other bugs (Hemiptera), earwigs (Dermaptera), adult and larval moths (Lepidoptera... read more


    Season mid-Apr to Jul/Aug; two broods. Monogamous, but more frequently polygamous; pair-bond not strong, partners associating only for... read more


    Resident and migratory; nominate race largely sedentary but also partial and altitudinal migrant.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common throughout NW, W & S Europe; common and widespread in Morocco and N Algeria, but rare in Tunisia; common in N Iraq, and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti). 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 30 March 2020).