Large-billed Leaf Warbler

Large-billed Leaf Warbler
Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris, Mt. Emei, Sichuan, China, elev. 2390 m (7,840 ft.), June. (Craig Brelsford)
Large-billed Leaf Warbler
Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Mt. Emei, June. (Craig Brelsford)
Large-billed Leaf Warbler
Devouring a mayfly, Mt. Emei. (Craig Brelsford)

Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris breeds in China from northeast Qinghai to southern Shaanxi and western Hubei, also in Chengde Prefecture, Hebei. Winters India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Breeds in coniferous and broadleaf forests, usually near streams, between 1800-3700 m (5,910-12,140 ft.); migrants may reach sea level. More often in upper canopy than other leaf warblers, more often along branches as opposed to among foliage, and less active. ID & COMPARISON Large, stocky; recalls Arctic Warbler P. borealis. Note contrastingly dark crown, bill and leg color, and vocalizations. Best distinguished from Greenish Warbler P. trochiloides by very distinctive vocalizations; longer, darker, and slightly hooked bill; and larger size. Has long, yellowish-white supercilium, longer and more striking than Greenish Warbler; darker and broader eye-stripe; stronger mottling on cheeks; often olive-brown tone in wings; and darker-green upperparts and especially crown. Yellowish-white wingbar on greater coverts, fainter or absent wingbar on median coverts. Underparts yellowish-white to greyish-white, often with diffuse greyish streaking on breast sides (like Arctic Warbler). BARE PARTS Feet greyish (some with pinkish hue but generally darker than Arctic Warbler). Lower mandible mainly dark with pale pinkish base; lower mandible of Greenish Warbler orange with dark tip. VOICE Call a tit-like, metallic, two-note dir-tee, with second note higher-pitched, often repeated at two-second intervals; often flicks tail while calling. Musical, fluty, 5-note song, descending in pitch (note 1 highest, notes 4-5 lowest); easily separable from rapid warble of Greenish Warbler and Two-barred Warbler P. plumbeitarsus. — Craig Brelsford

SOUND-RECORDING

Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris, song, Mt. Emei, Sichuan, China, elev. 2390 m (7,840 ft.), June. (Craig Brelsford)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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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