Ashy-throated Warbler

Ashy-throated Warbler
Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis, Gaoligong Mountains, Yunnan, China, elev. 1690 m (5,550 ft.), February. (Craig Brelsford)

In China, Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis maculipennis uncommon resident southeast Tibet, western Yunnan, and southwest Sichuan, and virens possibly in Ngari Prefecture, western Tibet. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Breeds in oak and conifer forests with thick rhododendron undergrowth, between 1800–3500 m (5,910–11,480 ft.); in winter in moist lowland forests, down to 600 m (1,970 ft.). Usually in canopy, foraging actively and flicking wings and tail. ID & COMPARISON Unique combination of small size; grey face, throat, and breast, and contrastingly bright-yellow underparts below breast; long, broad, greyish-white supercilium; and white outer tail. Has greyish-white crown-stripe extending to center of nape, two yellowish-white wingbars, pale yellow rump, dark grey eye-stripe, grey crown sides and nape, and bright-green mantle, back, and scapulars. Flight feathers dark brown; white tips to tertials. Tail blackish-brown, with white on outermost tail feathers visible when tail flicked. All other close relatives have much more uniformly yellow underparts. Additionally, Sichuan Leaf Warbler P. forresti and Lemon-rumped Warbler P. chloronotus lack white in tail and have a yellowish crown-stripe, and Buff-barred Warbler P. pulcher has orange-buff wingbars and a more yellowish supercilium. BARE PARTS Dainty bill black with yellowish basal half of lower mandible; feet yellowish-brown. VOICE Song a fast, jumpy whistle of 5 high notes, the last lowest in pitch; also a slower teach-you teach-you. Call a thin, high-pitched swit. — Craig Brelsford

THE LEAF WARBLERS OF CHINA has research on most members of Phylloscopus in China. Click any link below:

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Buff-barred Warbler P. pulcher
Ashy-throated Warbler P. maculipennis
Hume’s Leaf Warbler P. humei
Yellow-browed Warbler P. inornatus
Chinese Leaf Warbler P. yunnanensis
Lemon-rumped Warbler P. chloronotus
Sichuan Leaf Warbler P. forresti
Gansu Leaf Warbler P. kansuensis
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler P. proregulus
Yellow-streaked Warbler P. armandii
Radde’s Warbler P. schwarzi
Sulphur-bellied Warbler P. griseolus
Tickell’s Leaf Warbler P. affinis
Smoky Warbler P. fuligiventer
Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus
Buff-throated Warbler P. subaffinis
Willow Warbler P. trochilus
Mountain Chiffchaff P. sindianus
Common Chiffchaff P. collybita
Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus
Ijima’s Leaf Warbler P. ijimae
White-spectacled Warbler P. intermedius
Grey-cheeked Warbler P. poliogenys
Green-crowned Warbler P. burkii
Grey-crowned Warbler P. tephrocephalus
Whistler’s Warbler P. whistleri
Bianchi’s Warbler P. valentini
Alström’s Warbler P. soror
Martens’s Warbler P. omeiensis
Two-barred Warbler P. plumbeitarsus
Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides
Emei Leaf Warbler P. emeiensis
Large-billed Leaf Warbler P. magnirostris
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. borealoides
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler P. tenellipes
Japanese Leaf Warbler P. xanthodryas
Kamchatka Leaf Warbler P. examinandus
Arctic Warbler P. borealis
Chestnut-crowned Warbler P. castaniceps
Limestone Leaf Warbler P. calciatilis
Sulphur-breasted Warbler P. ricketti
Yellow-vented Warbler P. cantator
Blyth’s Leaf Warbler P. reguloides
Claudia’s Leaf Warbler P. claudiae
Hartert’s Leaf Warbler P. goodsoni
Kloss’s Leaf Warbler P. ogilviegranti
Hainan Leaf Warbler P. hainanus
Davison’s Leaf Warbler P. davisoni
Grey-hooded Warbler P. xanthoschistos


Use Per Alström’s 40-page presentation on the leaf warblers of China. The document is available in PDF and jpeg:

Presentation on the Identification of Leaf Warblers in China, by Per Alström (PDF version)

Presentation on the Identification of Leaf Warblers in China, by Per Alström (zip folder containing jpegs that can be synced like photos to one’s smartphone)


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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