Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans)


Taxonomy

French: Fauvette passerinette German: Weißbart-Grasmücke Spanish: Curruca carrasqueña
Taxonomy:

Motacilla (cantillans

) Pallas

, 1764,

Italy

.

Until recently considered conspecific with S. subalpina (which see). Race inornata also proposed for species rank in course of separation of S. subalpina and description of iberiae#R#R, but plumage differences relatively weak and call differences slight#R. Some authors propose that albistriata be treated as a full species, but evidence not conclusive. Has apparently hybridized with S. melanocephala#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. iberiae Svensson, 2013 – Iberian Peninsula, S France and extreme NW Italy (parts of Liguria and Piedmont); non-breeding S Morocco, C & S Algeria and from Senegal and S Mauritania E to Niger#R#R.
  • S. c. inornata Tschusi, 1906 – Western Subalpine Warbler – NW Africa from Morocco (W High Atlas) E to N Tunisia, locally in NW Libya; claimed to be short-distance migrant or resident#R.
  • S. c. cantillans (Pallas, 1764) – Eastern Subalpine Warbler – Sicily and C & S Italy (N to Umbria and Marche), locally in NC Italy (Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna); non-breeding presumably in W Sahel.
  • S. c. albistriata (C. L. Brehm, 1855) – extreme NE Italy (Trieste) and S Slovenia, S along N Adriatic coast to Albania and E to S Bulgaria, Greece, Crete and W Turkey, once in SW Romania; non-breeding C & E Sahel (from about E Mali E to NW Sudan).
  • Descriptive notes

    12 cm; 7–16·1 g. Small warbler with rather short and square-ended tail and moderately pointed wings. Male nominate race breeding has head and upperparts bluish-... read more

    Voice

    Song, from bush or in flight, less frequently from treetop or within cover, a rather long,... read more

    Habitat

    Favours tall and dense heterogeneous maquis with sparse tree cover in dry Mediterranean areas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly small insects and their larvae; also berries and fruits, mainly outside breeding season and, particularly, before autumn migration (... read more

    Breeding

    Season (nominate race and albistriata) late Mar to late Jun, most clutches laid between mid-Apr and mid-May (peak late Apr and... read more

    Movements

    Long-distance migrant; supposed sedentary nature of those at Beni Abbès (NW Algeria)... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common in most of its range. European population estimated at 1,400,000–3,200,000 breeding pairs; densities in suitable habitats... read more

    Recommended citation

    Aymí, R., Gargallo, G., Christie, D.A. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/58967 on 15 December 2018).