Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)


French: Hypolaïs ictérine German: Gelbspötter Spanish: Zarcero icterino

Sylvia icterina


, 1817,

Nancy, France


Sister to H. polyglotta; see also H. languida. Proposed race alaris (N Iran) considered undiagnosable. Monotypic.


Scandinavia and S Finland E to WC Russia (E side of R Ob) and occasionally N Kazakhstan#R, S to NE France, Switzerland, Romania and N Balkans (locally), Ukraine, Crimea and region E of Sea of Azov; also isolated population in S Caspian Sea, Iran. Winters in S Africa.

Descriptive notes

12·5–14 cm; 11–16 g. Medium-sized warbler with pointed bill, rather large head, feathers of forecrown often raised, and short-looking square-cut tail; long... read more


Song a loud and pleasing mix of shrill or melodious notes and clever mimicry of other birds,... read more


Tall-grown woods of oak (Quercus), birch (Betula), beech (Fagus sylvatica... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects and other invertebrates, in summer also fruits and berries; nestlings fed with caterpillars, which also taken by fledged... read more


End May to Jul, mostly from Jun; generally single-brooded. Nest a well-built cup of grasses, plant stems, moss and soft twigs, often... read more


Migratory. Non-breeding quarters in Africa mainly S of equator, from S Uganda and E DRCongo S to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common within much of its range, and quite common in optimal habitats in E Europe; numbers more uneven in N & W. Estimated... read more

Recommended citation

Svensson, L. (2020). Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina). 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).