Claudia’s Leaf Warbler

Claudia's Leaf Warbler
Claudia’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus claudiae, Sichuan, China, elev. 2760 m (9,060 ft.), June. (Craig Brelsford)

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus claudiae is a Chinese breeding endemic (eastern Tibet, western Sichuan, and southern parts of Gansu, Shaanxi and Shanxi; disjunctly in Hebei); non-breeding southern Yunnan, also India and Southeast Asia. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Broadleaved, coniferous, and mixed forests, in summer between 1500–3700 m (4,920–12,140 ft.), in winter below 1500 m (4,920 ft.). Feeds at all levels of forest, from upper canopy to undergrowth. Very agile; often hangs upside down on branch, like a tit, and creeps along branches and tree trunks like a nuthatch. In breeding season, slowly flicks wings one at a time in territorial display. ID & COMPARISON Very similar to Blyth’s Leaf Warbler P. reguloides and Hartert’s Leaf Warbler P. goodsoni. Mid-sized leaf warbler with boldly patterned head and two wingbars. Long supercilium, yellowish before eye, whiter behind it, extends to nape, joined below by blackish eye-stripe and above by blackish posterior crown sides. Above crown sides, yellowish-olive median crown-stripe, turning yellowish-white posteriorly. Yellowish ear coverts with indistinct greyish mottling. Upperparts olive-green, with yellowish-white tips to greater and median coverts forming two distinct wingbars. Brownish-black tail edged olive-green above, with narrow white edges to inner web of outer rectrices. Underparts mainly white with slight yellow and greyish streaking; pale yellow vent and undertail coverts. Kloss’s Leaf Warbler P. ogilviegranti is slightly smaller and yellower overall, notably on supercilium, ear coverts, and median crown-stripe; note that underside of tail in Kloss’s is white. Kloss’s flicks wings quickly and simultaneously (this character should be used with care outside breeding season). Eastern Crowned Warbler P. coronatus has single weak wingbar, a fainter crown-stripe and crown sides, and yellower vent and undertail coverts. BARE PARTS Bill blackish-grey above, orange-yellow below. Feet yellowish-grey. VOICE Tit-like pit-chew call, often doubled or ending with a clearer note. Song 1–2 introductory whistles followed by 7–9 faster, lower-pitched notes, reminiscent of a sunbird, or 2–3 repeated tones in a cyclical pattern, reminiscent of Coal Tit. — Craig Brelsford


Claudia’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus claudiae, song, Sichuan, China, elev. 2760 m (9,060 ft.), June. (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)

See also:

Complete species-level phylogeny of the leaf warbler (Aves: Phylloscopidae) radiation, by Per Alström et al.


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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