Family Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus)


French: Pouillot montagnard German: Bergzilpzalp Spanish: Mosquitero montano

Phylloscopus sindianus

W. E. Brooks

, 1880,

Sukkur, Sind, Pakistan


In past, often treated as a race of P. collybita, and the two have hybridized exceptionally (in Iranian Azerbaijan), but significant differences exist between them in structure, voice, morphology and mtDNA; further, the two are altitudinally segregated in areas of sympatry, e.g. NE Turkey, present species breeding at higher elevations. Race lorenzii sometimes treated as a separate species, but evidence of its distinctiveness not apparent; songs very similar to those of nominate (contra descriptions in HBW). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. lorenzii (T. K. Lorenz, 1887) – Caucasian Chiffchaff – Caucasus S to NE Turkey and NW Iran; non-breeding largely unknown, probably at lower altitudes S to Iraq and Kuwait#R.
  • P. s. sindianus W. E. Brooks, 1880 – Kashmir Chiffchaff – S Tien Shan and from Tajikistan (Pamir-Alai Mts) E to Kunlun Shan and W Altun Shan, and SE to Karakoram and NW Himalayas in Pakistan (NW Chitral, Gilgit, Baltistan) and NW India (Ladakh E to N Himachal Pradesh); non-breeding at lower elevations, mainly in S Pakistan (Sind), NC India (Haryana and W Uttar Pradesh) and probably coastal Iran.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–12 cm; 5·5–8·5 g. A smallish brown to grey-brown leaf-warbler with well-defined face pattern and short primary projection. Nominate race... read more


    Song of nominate race, given also in wintering area prior to migration, a series of phrases, e.g.... read more


    Breeds in pine (Pinus) and birch (Betula) forests, willow (Salix) swamps... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food items poorly known, but include small insects and spiders (Araneae), probably also some small berries in autumn. Usually forages alone... read more


    May to early Aug; two broods. Monogamous. Territorial. Nest a ball of coarse grass stems and dry leaves, plant fibres, animal hair and... read more


    Migratory. Nominate race departs from breeding areas in NW Himalayas mid-Sept to early Oct, passage... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common. Nominate race is uncommon in Tien Shan and Kunlun Shan E to Altun Shan, in W China; locally frequent or common breeder in N... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2019). Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus). 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 June 2019).