Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Moltoni's Warbler (Sylvia subalpina)


French: Fauvette de Moltoni German: Ligurien-Bartgrasmücke Spanish: Curruca subalpina
Other common names: Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler

Sylvia subalpina


, 1820,

“les environs de Turin”, Italy


Often referred to by (sub)species epithet moltonii, but name subalpina is valid and has priority#R#R. For long treated as a race of S. cantillans, but recognized as being distinct on account of call, moult strategy, delayed breeding season, and very divergent mtDNA; also, more recently, the two found to occur sympatrically in N Italy#R. Monotypic.


Balearic Is (mostly Mallorca and Cabrera), Corsica, Sardinia, some Tuscan islands and N & C Italy (S Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany), perhaps also SE France; non-breeding presumed in W Sahel extending E to at least N Nigeria and Niger#R#R.

Descriptive notes

12 cm. Small warbler with rather short, square-ended tail and moderately pointed wings. Male breeding has head and upperparts blue-grey with very faint tinge of buff-brown;... read more


Song, given usually from bush or in flight, a fairly protracted, rather hurried, somewhat scratchy... read more


Breeds in maquis of all kinds, especially that dominated by strawberry tree (Arbutus) and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet and foraging behaviour not known to differ much from those of S. cantillans, which see. Feeds mostly on small invertebrates... read more


Season mainly May–Jun, with most clutches laid mid May; apparently usually one brood. Monogamous; solitary, territorial breeder. Male... read more


Long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds from late Jul to Sept, with autumn passage in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Appears to be not uncommon within most of its breeding range; common in Corsica. Breeding density in Corsica varies with habitat, up... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Moltoni's Warbler (Sylvia subalpina). 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 28 February 2020).