Phylloscopidae – Leaf Warblers & Allies

Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus ruficapillus voelckeri ©Trevor Hardaker Website

Phylloscopidae is a newly described family of small insectivorous birds formerly placed in the Old World warbler family. Phylloscopidae contains just two genera, Phylloscopus and Seicercus, respectively containing around 66 and 11 species. The leaf warblers are a branch of “Old World warblers,” one of 10 or more branches that sprouted as Families with the break-up of the Sylviidae. Its members occur in Eurasia, ranging into Wallacea and Africa (and the Arctic warbler breeding east into Alaska). Most live in forest and scrub and frequently catch food on the wing.

The species are of various sizes, often green-plumaged above and yellow below, or more subdued with greyish-green to greyish-brown colours, varying little or not at all with the seasons. The tails are not very long and contain 12 feathers (unlike the similar Abroscopus species, which have 10 tail feathers). Many species are more easily identified by their distinctive songs than their dull plumage.

The Phylloscopidae comprises many small tree-loving warbler species. Many are canopy or sub-canopy dwellers, gleaning insects from leaves or catching food on the wing. There are many species breeding at temperate and high latitudes in Eurasia that migrate substantial distances to winter in southeast Asia, India, or Africa. An example is Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, which breeds in scrub at high elevation in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau and then moves downslope and south to winter in the Himalayan foothills of India and Burma.

The Family Phylloscopidae or Leaf Warblers & Allies has been recently split from the super family of Old World Warblers following DNA studies. There are 77 species as set out below:

Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla
Laura’s Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laurae
Red-faced Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laetus
Black-capped Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus herberti
Uganda Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis
Brown Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus
Canary Islands Chiffchaff Phylloscopus canariensis
Mountain Chiffchaff Phylloscopus sindianus
Plain Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus neglectus
Western Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus orientalis
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
Smoky Warbler Phylloscopus fuligiventer
Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis
Alpine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus occisinensis
Buff-throated Warbler Phylloscopus subaffinis
Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus
Yellow-streaked Warbler Phylloscopus armandii
Radde’s Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi
Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher
Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis
Gansu Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus kansuensis
Chinese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus yunnanensis
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus
Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus chloronotus
Brooks’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus subviridis
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
Hume’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus humei
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
Kamchatka Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus examinandus
Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus xanthodryas
Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
Two-barred Warbler Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides
Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
Tytler’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tytleri
Western Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus occipitalis
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
Ijima’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus ijimae
Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides
Claudia’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus claudiae
Hartert’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus goodsoni
Emei Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus emeiensis
Davison’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni
Kloss’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus ogilviegranti
Hainan Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus hainanus
Sichuan Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus forresti
Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator
Limestone Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus calciatilis
Sulphur-breasted Warbler Phylloscopus ricketti
Philippine Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus olivaceus
Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus cebuensis
Mountain Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus
Negros Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus nigrorum
Sulawesi Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus sarasinorum
Timor Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus presbytes
Island Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis
Makira Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus makirensis
Kolombangara Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus amoenus
Grey-hooded Warbler Phylloscopus xanthoschistos

White-spectacled Warbler Seicercus affinis
Green-crowned Warbler Seicercus burkii
Grey-crowned Warbler Seicercus tephrocephalus
Whistler’s Warbler Seicercus whistleri
Bianchi’s Warbler Seicercus valentini
Martens’s Warbler Seicercus omeiensis
Alström’s Warbler Seicercus soror
Grey-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys
Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps
Yellow-breasted Warbler Seicercus montis
Sunda Warbler Seicercus grammiceps

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 77

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