Cetti’s Warbler

A mainly Western Palearctic species, Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti breeds in northwestern Xinjiang (ssp. albiventris) in marshlands or in drier areas with watercourses nearby. Like all Cettia, forages in thick undergrowth, rarely offering more than a fleeting glimpse. Ssp. albiventris, the lightest of the three races, is unmarked and uniformly warm brown above (sometimes slightly more grey on forehead and crown). The short supercilium is pale grey, accentuated by dark lores and eye-stripe; broken whitish eye-ring. Greyish cheeks, breast sides and flanks, contrasting little with whitish chin, throat, breast, and belly; brownish-grey undertail coverts tipped white. Bill blackish-brown with pinkish-yellow base to lower mandible; feet pinkish-brown. The long tail is often raised and the head has much more of a domed shape than Acrocephalus reed warblers. Diagnostic song starts with a sharp, metallic “plitt” followed by explosive, warbling bursts lasting two to five seconds. Call is a metallic “tjipp,” sometimes extended into a rattle. Gives different song in the hours before dawn. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com covers most of the species in China in the family Cettiidae. Click any link:

Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
Rufous-faced Warbler A. albogularis
Black-faced Warbler A. schisticeps
Mountain Tailorbird Phyllergates cuculatus
Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni
Japanese Bush Warbler Horornis diphone
Manchurian Bush Warbler H. borealis
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler H. fortipes
Hume’s Bush Warbler H. brunnescens
Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler H. acanthizoides
Aberrant Bush Warbler H. flavolivaceus
Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer
Slaty-bellied Tesia T. olivea
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler C. major
Grey-sided Bush Warbler C. brunnifrons
Chestnut-headed Tesia C. castaneocoronata
Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps
Pale-footed Bush Warbler U. pallidipes


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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