Family Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler (Phylloscopus ruficapilla)


French: Pouillot à gorge jaune German: Rotscheitel-Laubsänger Spanish: Mosquitero gorjigualdo

Pogonocichla ruficapilla


, 1850,

Durban, South Africa


See P. umbrovirens. Rather isolated race ochrogularis distinctive, with cinnamon-ochre vs citron-yellow supercilium, lower head sides and throat (at least 2); slightly paler reddish-brown crown (ns); slightly greyer vs greener lower upperparts and wing fringes (1); and (on small sample size) rather longer bill (ns); study of voice desirable (apparently no recordings available). Geographical variation broadly clinal. Birds from NE South Africa (Soutpansberg and Drakensberg, in E Northern Province) named as race ochraceiceps, but considered indistinguishable from nominate. Seven subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. r. ochrogularis (Moreau, 1941) – Ochre-throated Woodland-warbler – W Tanzania (Mahale Mts).
  • P. r. minullus (Reichenow, 1905) – SE Kenya (Taita Hills) and NE & E Tanzania (S to Ulugurus).
  • P. r. johnstoni (W. L. Sclater, 1927) – S Tanzania and Malawi S to NE Zambia and NW Mozambique.
  • P. r. quelimanensis (Vincent, 1933) – NC Mozambique (Mt Namuli).
  • P. r. alacris (Clancey, 1969) – E Zimbabwe and W Mozambique (Mt Gorongosa).
  • P. r. ruficapilla (Sundevall, 1850) – Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler – E South Africa (E Northern Province S to KwaZulu-Natal), W Swaziland and E Lesotho.
  • P. r. voelckeri (Roberts, 1941) – S South Africa (S Western Cape E along coast to E Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 6·2–10·2 g. A medium-sized, compact leaf-warbler with distinctive brown or reddish-brown on forehead and crown. Nominate race has supercilium, cheek,... read more


    Call a plaintive “tieuu” or “wittee”, also high-pitched “zit-zit”; grating “peee-trrrrr” as alarm.... read more


    Moist evergreen forest (mostly edges and clearings) and woodland and bamboo. Up to 2350 m in E... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly insects, spiders (Araneae) and larvae. Forages alone or in pairs, in non-breeding season in small groups. Active in middle to... read more


    Sept–Dec/early Jan. Monogamous. Nest a ball of moss, soft plant fibres and feathers, placed on ground or in low bush, fern or mossy... read more


    Resident, but some altitudinal movements. In non-breeding season occurs down to 600 m in Malawi;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common throughout most of range. Common in Nguru Mts, in Tanzania. Recorded densities of 10 singing males/10 ha in Malawi.

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2019). Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler (Phylloscopus ruficapilla). 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 16 June 2019).