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. Probably resident in western parts of Chinese range and winter visitor in east. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Shy and skulking. Keeps to thick cover of bushes and grasses near forest edge, rarely emerging. ID & COMPARISON Poorly marked; dark olive-brown from forehead to square-ended tail. Head strikingly patterned, with buff supercilium that extends beyond the ear coverts, dark brown lores and strong, dark brown eye-stripe running as far back as supercilium. White below, with flanks washed buff; undertail coverts buff. Asian Stubtail U. squameiceps has extremely short tail, longer, narrower bill, faint scaling on crown, 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 has somewhat different appearance; larger head and 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. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and Sakhalin Leaf Warbler are more olive-green above, usually show two wingbars, and less skulky in deep cover. BARE PARTS Bill yellowish-pink at base (mostly lower mandible), grey above. Has strikingly pale pinkish legs. VOICE Song starts with single chip followed by short, explosive cheerful song, sometimes delivered from exposed perch, but usually from deep in undergrowth, repeated with pauses lasting a few seconds. Call a hard chet. — Craig Brelsford

THE CETTIID WARBLERS OF CHINA covers most of the species in China in the family Cettiidae. Click any link:

Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
Rufous-faced Warbler A. albogularis
Black-faced Warbler A. schisticeps
Mountain Tailorbird Phyllergates cuculatus
Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni
Japanese Bush Warbler Horornis diphone
Manchurian Bush Warbler H. borealis
Brown-flanked Bush Warbler H. fortipes
Hume’s Bush Warbler H. brunnescens
Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler H. acanthizoides
Aberrant Bush Warbler H. flavolivaceus
Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer
Slaty-bellied Tesia T. olivea
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler C. major
Grey-sided Bush Warbler C. brunnifrons
Chestnut-headed Tesia C. castaneocoronata
Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps
Pale-footed Bush Warbler U. pallidipes


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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