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Yellow-browed Warbler--Voice ID--Greece (1 Viewer)


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In Greece this year there have been quite a few records of Yellow-browed Warblers with a couple of birds overwintering. Two of these birds have sound recordings submitted to ebird, which helpfully creates sonograms. At first the calls seemed a little off to me, not really the high pitched piercing call which I have heard from other birds. Upon viewing the sonograms it was confirmed that these calls were registering lower frequencies than are typical for this species based on numerous other recordings on ebird. For the first link the call seems to start a bit above 4 khz and peaks at around 5, and in the second it begins at around 4 and again peaks around 5, maybe a bit higher. For reference all the calls I have found on ebird begin well above 6 khz, closer to 7 and peak correspondently higher.

1st bird: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/281511271

2nd bird : https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/279432881

Could it be that there is such intraspecific variation in the pitch of the call of Yellow-browed, which hasn't been confirmed as far as I can see from ebird recordings? Or is it more plausible that this is a Chiffchaff which has picked up the the Yellow browed's call somewhere in an overlapping breeding range and has learned to mimic it albeit poorly?

For the record, the second bird was only heard not seen, just the once, while the first bird has apparently also been seen, and is wintering in a park in Athens. I have been to see this bird and despite having heard it well, I could only find Chiffchaffs.On one occasion where I was certain that the bird I was watching was the one that was calling, it turned out to be a Chifchaff.

Anyone who has any insight on the matter and is willing to share it is thanked in advance!

Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
YBW calls can vary - but in my experience once they really get going (like the birds in the recordings posted) there is not too much variation. I think Hume's warbler should be considered. Shame there wasn't much additional detail from the observer who saw the bird.
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