Buff-throated Warbler

Buff-throated Warbler
Buff-throated Warbler Phylloscopus subaffinis, Emeifeng, Fujian, April. (Craig Brelsford)

Buff-throated Warbler Phylloscopus subaffinis breeds from southeast Qinghai across much of southern China to Zhejiang. Non-breeding at lower altitudes in breeding range and from southern Yunnan east to Fujian. HABITAT Breeds on open hillsides with scrub and in montane forests, generally at lower altitudes (1800–3600 m [5,910–11,800 ft.]) than Alpine Leaf Warbler P. occisinensis. Non-breeding to 200 m (660 ft.). ID & COMPARISON Very similar to Alpine Leaf Warbler P. affinis occisinensis. Distinguished by overall duller coloring and more nondescript appearance, shorter and usually darker bill, and longer tail. Generally less green hues in upperparts and no bright lemon hues in underparts, being more greyish-brown above and buffish-yellow below. Also has more buffish-yellow supercilium that may be diffuse before the eye, unlike brighter yellow supercilium of Alpine, which is often whiter behind the eye; a duller eye-stripe; and slightly darker ear coverts. Sulphur-bellied Warbler P. griseolus is colder grey-brown above, has more distinct head pattern, different coloration on underparts, greyish-white edges to flight feathers, longer and stronger bill, and slender appearance more reminiscent of Dusky Warbler P. fuscatus. BARE PARTS Bill blackish-brown above, yellow below, usually showing extensive dark tip (sometimes only yellow at base); feet dark brown or brownish-yellow. VOICE Call a cricket-like chirrup; song a simple trill similar to Alpine Leaf Warbler, but softer, slower, and higher-pitched, and lacking introductory chep call note. — Craig Brelsford


Identification of Tickell’s and Buff-throated Warblers,” Dutch Birding, 1994

On the taxonomic status of Phylloscopus affinis and Phylloscopus subaffinis,” Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 1992


shanghaibirding.com 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.

Go to Birds of China page

Reach us: info@shanghaibirding.com

Be notified every time we post. Send an
email with “Subscribe” as the subject to

Donate to Shanghai Birding!

Shanghai Birding 上海观鸟