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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Warblers /Sylviidae

Orphean Warbler/Sylvia crassirostris - Adult

L 15-16 cm. Breeds in deciduous woods (e.g. in oak forest, olive groves or luxuriant riverine vegetation), in tall scrub with some trees, often on rocky, sunny mountain slopes, also locally in pine forest. Migratory, winters S of Sahara. Rather shy and elusive at breeding site, keeps mostly in treetops. Nest often at breast height, in bush or low tree.
IDENTIFICATION: Large, somewhat bigger than Blackcap, and has longer bill and slightly bigger head. Greyish above, dirty white below. Tail squareended, with sides white-edged. - Adult male: Greyish-black on ear-coverts, lores and forehead, sometimes dark also on crown (but always indistinct border with grey hindcrown/nape, unlike Sardinian Warbler). Iris pale (esp. in W Europe). - Adult female: Head less black than male's (often only earcoverts and lores are darker grey, giving impression of outsized Lesser Whitethroat), and upperparts are tinged brown. Iris variable, often with narrow pale ring, sometimes (esp. in Turkey and Middle East) rather dark. - 1st-winter:Like adult female, but head lacks any black, being grey (male) or brown-tinged grey (female), and iris always dark.
VOICE: Call a tongue-clicking ‘teck’, barely distinguishable from Blackcap’s. Also has a buzzing rattle when agitated, ‘trrrrr’, somewhat recalling Rüppell’s Warbler, and a Barred Warbler-like hoarse ‘chaih’. Song in SW Europe (ssp. hortensis) a simple composition of clear motifs repeated a few times in Ring Ouzel fashion, e.g. ‘türu türu türu türu….. liru liru liru trü…’; in SE (crassirostris) the verses are longer and more varied, can recall Nightingale, e.g. ‘trü trü trü shivü shivü, yu-yu-yu-brü-triüh’.

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