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Arctic Warbler - BirdForum Opus

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P. b. borealis
Photo by LeeDavis
Bempton Cliffs, England, September 2004
Phylloscopus borealis


Length 12–13 cm (4¾-5 in), weight 7.5–15 g

  • Olive-green above, greyish-white below. A single noticeable wing bar, and another less distinct, in fresh plumage (though sometimes one or both can be lost when feathers become worn). Long white supercillium and a broad dark eyestripe.
  • Thick wedge-shaped bill, with a dark tip to the lower mandible.
  • Flat forehead and slight peak to the hindcrown.
  • Legs pinkish-brown.

Similar Species

See Japanese Leaf Warbler and Kamchatka Leaf Warbler for the complex identification of these recently split taxa. Can also be confused with Greenish Warbler, which is slightly smaller and has a different, disyllabic call.


Breeds in Alaska, northern Asia, Scandinavia, and Siberia.

Migration mostly through eastern Asia, but rare but increasing sightings in western Europe, including the east coast of the UK, in the autumn.

Winters South-east Asia, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia.

Vagrant in northern Western Australia.


Japanese Leaf Warbler P. xanthodryas and Kamchatka Leaf Warbler P. examinandus were formerly included in this species as additional subspecies.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Mixed coniferous, birch and other broadleaved woods, also in lush undergrowth near water. Most are in lowlands but the Kamtchatka breeds in higher elevation subalpine forests.


Very active bird, constantly flitting around in the tree canopy.


Dashing flight. Flicks wings and tail when at rest.


The nest is on the ground in a low shrub.


The diet includes small arthropods, picked off vegetation or in flight.



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2021. IOC World Bird List (v11.1). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.11.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/#Taxonomy thread discussing Arctic Warbler read in June 2009
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BTO Bird Facts
  5. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  6. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.