Pale-footed Bush Warbler

Pale-footed Bush Warbler Urosphena pallidipes occurs across most of southernmost China, with laurentei recorded from western Yunnan east to Hong Kong. The species is probably resident in the western parts of its Chinese range and a winter visitor in the east. Shy and skulking, it keeps to the thick cover of bushes and grasses near the forest edge, rarely emerging. Poorly marked; dark olive-brown from forehead to square-ended tail. Head strikingly patterned, having a buff supercilium that extends beyond the ear coverts, dark brown lores and a strong, dark brown eye-stripe running as far back as the supercilium. White below, with flanks washed buff; undertail coverts buff. Bill yellowish-pink at base (mostly lower mandible), grey above. Has strikingly pale pinkish legs. Asian stubtail has an extremely short tail, a longer, narrower bill, faint scaling on the crown (can be difficult to see), and even stronger facial expression than pale-footed bush warbler; longer and broader eye-stripe and supercilium, accentuated by narrow blackish line above. Brown-flanked bush warbler has darker (less contrasting) underparts, longer and more rounded tail (often slightly raised), less distinct head pattern and often darker legs. Coloration similar to dusky warbler, but pale-footed bush warbler has a somewhat different appearance; larger head, slightly stronger bill and body is stockier. Pale-footed usually also has warmer rufous-brown coloration above (especially crown and wings), buffish tinge to flanks, and a more angry facial expression (stronger blackish eye-stripe). Dusky warbler usually has a warm buff tinge to supercilium (behind the eye) and darker legs. Sakhalin and pale-legged leaf warbler are more olive-green above, usually show two wingbars, and less skulky in deep cover. Song starts with a single “chip” followed by a short, explosive cheerful song, sometimes delivered from exposed perch, but usually from deep in the undergrowth, repeated with pauses lasting a few seconds. Call is a hard “chet”. — 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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