Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Near Threatened

Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata)


French: Fauvette pitchou German: Provencegrasmücke Spanish: Curruca rabilarga

Motacilla undata


, 1783,

Provence, France


Geographical variation rather limited and partially clinal; nominate race intergrades widely with dartfordiensis in SW France and NW Iberia and with toni in S Iberia. Proposed races corsa (from Corsica) and naevalbens (from SE Italy) fall within range of variation of nominate and thus are synonymized with it; similarly, aremorica (from NW France) is synonymized with dartfordiensis, and tingitana (from Morocco) with toni. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. u. dartfordiensis Latham, 1787 – S England and W France S to extreme N Iberian Peninsula.
  • S. u. undata (Boddaert, 1783) – S France, Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Is (Menorca, locally in N Mallorca), Corsica, Sardinia and Italy (including parts of Sicily).
  • S. u. toni E. J. O. Hartert, 1909 – NW Africa (NE Morocco E to N Tunisia), and perhaps S Iberia; non-breeding S to N edge of Sahara.
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5 cm; 6·8–10·5 g. Small and graceful warbler with very long tail, short rounded wings. Male nominate race breeding has slaty ash-grey head and... read more


    Song, from cover or bushtop or in song flight, a rather short and hurried warble (c. 1–3... read more


    Favours dense and homogeneous scrub, garrigue and low maquis c. 0·5–1·5 m tall... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly arthropods; also berries outside breeding season. Invertebrate food includes adult and larval moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera),... read more


    Season mostly mid-Mar to Aug; laying from mid-Mar to late Mar in Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Is (Menorca) and Channel Is, early Apr in S... read more


    Adults largely resident in most of range; vacate breeding territories only under very extreme... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Rather patchily distributed throughout its range, but locally common to very common. Population in Europe (95%... read more

    Recommended citation

    Aymí, R. & Gargallo, G. (2020). Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata). 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 25 February 2020).