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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Warblers /Sylviidae

Subalpine Warbler/Sylvia cantillans - Male

L 12-13 cm. Breeds in various habitats, often in bushes on dry slopes or sandy heaths, also in open woodland (often holm oak) or in lush shrubbery beside watercourses etc. Summer visitor (mostly Apr-Sep), winters S of Sahara. Discreet habits, but has short songflight. Nests in thick bush.
IDENTIFICATION: Size as Lesser Whitethroat, but more slender in build; fairly short-tailed. - Adult male: Easily identified by lead-grey head and grey mantle, and by having brick-red on throat, bordered by white moustache, and on breast. Eye-ring and orbital ring brick-red. Legs brownish-pink. - Adult female: As male, but throat/breast usually only lightly washed brownish-pink (cf. male Ménétries’s Warbler); more brownish above and not lead-grey on head; faintly brick-coloured or whitish eye-ring (outside indistinct red-brown orbital ring). Legs greyish brown-pink. - 1st-winter: As female, but browner above, buff-white below, and initially with greyish yellow-brown iris (adult more reddish).
VOICE: Call a Lesser Whitethroat-like dry clicking ‘tett’, often rapidly repeated in long series (unlike e.g. Sardinian Warbler); some variation: on W Mediterranean islands ‘trrrrt’, in SE Europe and Turkey ‘trek’ (often doubled). At times gives muffled, creaky ‘ehd’ like Trumpeter Finch, and when agitated a hoarse ‘tscheh tscheh tscheh …’. Song higher-pitched than Sardinian’s, and verses on average a bit longer; almost Linnet-like in ‘rippling’ and bouncing nature, a rambling mix of harsh twitters and short, high squeaky notes.

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