Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Orphean Warbler (Sylvia crassirostris)


French: Fauvette orphéane German: Nachtigallengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca mirlona oriental

Sylvia crassirostris


, 1830,



Until recently considered conspecific with S. hortensis, but differs in its more clearly demarcated slaty crown and paler mantle and back (2); whiter underparts (1); slightly larger size including longer bill (effect size for bill 2.41, score 2); and different song, involving greater length of phrase (at least 2), number of notes per phrase (ns[2]), higher maximum number (five vs two) of repetitions of same note (3), and number of different note types per phrase (ns[2]). Form balchanica of dubious validity, perhaps part of a cline#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. crassirostris Cretzschmar, 1830 – SE Europe (E from Slovenia) E to Turkey, Levant, NW Iran and W Azerbaijan; non-breeding mainly Sudan (perhaps E Chad) E to W Yemen.
  • S. c. balchanica Zarudny & Bilkevich, 1918 – SW Caspian Sea region and NE Iraq E to SE Turkmenistan and SE Iran; non-breeding S Iran, S Pakistan and SE Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman).
  • S. c. jerdoni (Blyth, 1847) – S & SE Kazakhstan, E Uzbekistan and W Kyrgyzstan S to Afghanistan and W Pakistan, possibly also extreme SE Iran; non-breeding India.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 14·8–27 g. Rather large and heavy Sylvia warbler with moderately long tail and wing, and long, pointed bill. Adult male nominate race has forehead to... read more


    Song, generally from concealed perch in dense vegetation at top of bush or tree, a protracted, loud... read more


    Prefers open or semi-open woodland with bushy cover, mainly broadleaf (often in hornbeams ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists mainly of arthropods, especially insects and their larvae; also berries outside breeding season. Invertebrate items probably... read more


    Season early Apr to Jul; one brood. Monogamous; territorial. Nest, built by both sexes, a fairly robust cup made from grass and plant... read more


    Migratory. Vacates breeding grounds from Jul to Sept; autumn passage through whole breeding range... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Scarce to locally fairly common, but nowhere numerous, although overall is probably far more numerous than S. hortensis.... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Eastern Orphean Warbler (Sylvia crassirostris). 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 11 December 2019).