Family Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae)

Least Concern

Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)


French: Pouillot verdâtre German: Grünlaubsänger Spanish: Mosquitero verdoso
Other common names: Greenish Leaf-warbler

Acanthiza trochiloides


, 1837,

Calcutta, India


Taxonomic position uncertain. Frequently considered conspecific with P. nitidus, but evidence from mtDNA indicates that the two are intermediate between species and races in terms of degree of divergence between them. Often treated as conspecific with P. plumbeitarsus, but mtDNA reveals genetic split between that species and race viridanus of present species; playback experiments found that these two taxa do not recognize each other’s songs, and where ranges overlap in C Siberia they behave as separate species. Races form three groups; sometimes treated as three full species#R#R, but existence of opposing treatments#R#R indicates that more research necessary. Hybridization with P. trochilus recorded. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. t. viridanus Blyth, 1843 – Western Greenish Warbler – EC & NE Europe E to SC Siberia, S to Pamir Mts, NW China (W Xinjiang) and NW Mongolia; winters in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.
  • P. t. ludlowi Whistler, 1931 – N Afghanistan, N Pakistan and Kashmir E in NW Himalayas to N India (E to Kumaon); winters mainly in India.
  • P. t. trochiloides (Sundevall, 1837) – Eastern Greenish Warbler – C & E Himalayas from NW India (Punjab) E to S & C China (SE Xizang E to E & S Sichuan and NW Yunnan); winters in NE India (N Eastern Ghats, S Assam), Bangladesh, S China (S Yunnan), Myanmar, W & N Thailand, N Laos, N Vietnam (Tonkin) and Andamans.
  • P. t. obscuratus Stresemann, 1929 – Dull-green Warbler – C China (E Qinghai and E & S Xizang E to Gansu and Sichuan); winters in S China (SW Yunnan, Hainan), Myanmar, NW Thailand and N Indochina.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11·5 cm; 6·5–10·5 g. A medium-sized green or dark green leaf-warbler with long supercilia usually meeting over bill and extending to nape... read more


    Call of nominate, given throughout year, a sharp, shrill and penetrating disyllabic “chee-wee... read more


    Breeds at up to 4500 m in lowland and montane mixed birch (Betula) and conifer forests,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly small invertebrates, primarily mayflies (Ephemeroptera), dragonflies (Odonata) up to 3 cm long, stoneflies (Plecoptera),... read more


    May to mid-Aug; one brood. Territorial; nesting territory defended by male mainly by continued calling and agitated wing-flicking, also by... read more


    Migratory. Breeders in W of range (race viridanus) move SE or SSE to wintering grounds in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread throughout most of range. Population in Europe (race viridanus) estimated at c. 27,000 pairs, and includes 110 pairs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2019). Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides). 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 8 December 2019).