Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)


French: Hypolaïs polyglotte German: Orpheusspötter Spanish: Zarcero políglota

Sylvia polyglotta


, 1817,



Sister to H. icterina; see also H. languida. Monotypic.


France and Iberia E to S Belgium, extreme SE Netherlands, SW Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, W Croatia and Corsica, and in NW Africa (N Morocco, N Algeria, N Tunisia); winters in W Africa from Gambia and Senegal E to Nigeria and Cameroon.

Descriptive notes

12–13·5 cm; 8–14 g. Medium-sized warbler with pointed bill, rounded crown and square-cut tail; moderately long primary projection, abouthalf to two-thirds... read more


Song a varied warble of varying speed and length, usually a drawn-out phrase at extremely fast pace... read more


Occupies maquis, orchards, large and ill-kept gardens, oak (Quercus) scrub, dense thorny... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects and other invertebrates, also some fruits and berries in summer; caterpillars fed to nestlings. Commonest prey perhaps... read more


May–Jul; one brood. Nest a well-built cup of grasses, plant stems and soft twigs, often covered with pieces of bark, lichens, etc.,... read more


Migratory. Spends non-breeding season in W Africa, in savanna N of rainforest, from Gambia and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Not uncommon within much of its range; locally common to very common. Estimated European population in 1990s 1,300,000–2,800,000 pairs, most of... read more

Recommended citation

Svensson, L. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta). 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 20 March 2019).