Hume’s Leaf Warbler

In China, Hume’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus humei mandellii (“Mandelli’s Leaf Warbler”) breeds eastern Qinghai to southeast Shanxi, Sichuan, and northern Yunnan. Non-breeding southeast Tibet, Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Nominate in Xinjiang (Tianshan from Kashgar Prefecture east to Junggar Basin and Turpan Depression), non-breeding southern Tibet. HABITAT Breeds in coniferous, broadleaf, and mixed forests, also rhododendron scrub, to 3500 m (11,480 ft.); on passage and in winter in virtually any wooded or scrubby area, from sea level to 2100 m (6,890 ft.). ID & COMPARISON The Greater Ranges counterpart to Yellow-browed Warbler P. inornatus. In worn spring plumage, may be indistinguishable visually from Yellow-browed, but is generally greyer and less yellow and has less distinct eye-stripe, less mottled cheeks, and a nearly all-black bill and darker legs and shows only one prominent wingbar (on greater coverts). In fresh plumage, shows grey-green crown with faint yellowish-white median crown-stripe sometimes visible. Supercilium and ear coverts buffish, latter mottled olive-grey. Rest of upperparts olive-green, with no rump patch. Remiges and tail blackish-brown with green fringing; tertials dark grey with off-white fringing (showing less contrast than tertials of Yellow-browed). Wingbar on greater coverts buffish, not yellow, as in Yellow-browed; tips to median coverts usually faint and ill-defined, but may nonetheless be discernible as wingbar. Underparts dirtier white (greyish on throat and breast) with no hint of yellow on flanks and undertail coverts. Mandelli’s is brighter olive-green on upperparts and often shows yellow tinge to underparts, hence being more similar to Yellow-browed. VOICE Most reliable differentiator between Hume’s and Yellow-browed is voice. One call is a sparrow-like chirp, dsu-weet, often doubled and frequently repeated (also used as alternative song); another is softer and sweeter, tse-lu, second syllable lower pitched. Also rising call similar to Yellow-browed, but usually softer and lower pitched. Song an insect-like eeezzz, lasting about 2 seconds, descending in pitch and fading. — 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.

Go to Birds of China page

Reach us:

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