Family Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae)

Least Concern

Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus tristis)


French: Pouillot de Sibérie German: Taigazilpzalp Spanish: Mosquitero siberiano

Ph[ylloscopus]. tristis


, 1843,

Calcutta, Bengal


Usually treated as conspecific with P. collybita, but differs in its almost total replacement of yellow in plumage with buffy grey-brown, with no olive in crown or mantle (1); blacker bill and legs (1); buff-washed pale supercilium (ns); distinctive call and song, latter having a faster pace (at least 2), narrower frequency range of notes (3), lower maximum frequency (ns[2]), and many more different note shapes including overslurred and rising notes (ns[2])#R. Broad intergradation with P. c. abietinus in W of range, as reported in HBW, poorly documented, with contradictory distributional evidence; research in progress, with recent suggestion that hybrid zone may be only 10 km wide#R. Name fulvescens proposed for seeming intergrades from (roughly) R Pechora to R Yenisey, but birds in question sing like present species, resulting in name being synonymized, although plumage has variable degrees of yellow; situation further confused by presumed P. collybita in Middle East and Caucasus reported as giving calls like those of present species; research required. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Russia, from Kanin Peninsula E to R Kolyma (possibly to R Anadyr), S to S Urals, N Kazakhstan, NW China, NW Mongolia and L Baikal; non-breeding S Iraq, S Iran and Arabia E to India and Bangladesh.

Descriptive notes

11–12 cm; c. 6–11 g. A medium-sized, rather plain leaf-warbler. Adult is grey-brown above, with green tones restricted to edges of remiges and rectrices (in fresh plumage,... read more


Song less even and more hesitant than that of P. collybita, with less distinction between... read more


Breeds in spruce (Picea) and pine (Pinus) forests of Siberian taiga; in C Altai... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists mostly of arthropods, especially insects, and sometimes small molluscs; seeds and berries also taken, mainly in autumn.... read more


Laying May–Jun, in S of range sometimes from Apr. Monogamous, perhaps occasionally polygamous. Male advertises his territory by singing... read more


Migratory. W populations move S of Tien Shan and Himalayas in Uzbekistan, S Turkmenistan and S Iran... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally abundant in much of breeding range; uncommon in Altai and E Tien Shan. This taxon, recently separated as a distinct... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus tristis). 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 27 January 2020).