Davison’s Leaf Warbler

Davison's Leaf Warbler
Davison’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni performing territorial display, Dulong Gorge, Yunnan, China, June. These photos were taken within the space of two seconds. Note bottom left the double wing flick. In western Yunnan, Davison’s is the leaf warbler with the double wing flick; in other parts of China, the closely related Kloss’s Leaf Warbler is the double wing flicker. (Craig Brelsford)

In China, Davison’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus davisoni is uncommon breeder in Yunnan (except east), wintering Southeast Asia. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Breeds to 2500 m (8,200 ft.), in winter down to 50 m (160 ft.). Forages energetically in upper and middle canopy of mixed deciduous forest; when agitated, rapidly flicks both wings simultaneously, never opening wings fully. ID & COMPARISON Very similar to Kloss’s Leaf Warbler P. ogilviegranti and Claudia’s Leaf Warbler P. claudiae. Small to mid-sized, bright green and yellow leaf warbler with a boldly marked head and double wingbars. Has long, broad, uniformly yellow supercilium extending to nape sides and a broad and well-defined yellow median crown-stripe (diffuse in front); long, blackish-olive eye-stripe and lores; and dark olive crown sides, turning blackish posteriorly. Upperparts bright olive-green, with broad whitish-yellow wingbar on greater coverts and less distinct wingbar on median coverts. Tail blackish-brown with green fringing; very narrow white edges to outer rectrices; tail mainly white from below. Yellowish-white chin; rest of underparts white with hint of yellow. Has more white in outer tail feathers than Kloss’s (visible only in hand) and a brighter yellow supercilium and crown-stripe and more yellowish-tinged underparts than ssp. disturbans of Kloss’s. BARE PARTS Bill blackish-brown above, orange below, sometimes with dark tip; feet pinkish-brown. VOICE Similar to Kloss’s. Tit-like pit-chew call note introduces song, titsui-titsui-titsui, slightly more slurred and more rhythmic than similar song of Claudia’s Leaf Warbler. — Craig Brelsford


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)

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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