Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Saturday 18 June 2016

(EASTERN) SUBALPINE WARBLER (Sylvia cantillans subspecies S. c. albistriata) Moni Gouvernetou Monastery, Akrotiri Peninsula, Crete, Greece

Click here for detailed species information
Click here to see distribution map and to hear calls

The Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans) is a migratory passerine in the family Sylviidae which is in the genus Sylvia. It breed in Northwest Africa, Southern Europe and Western Turkey. It feeds on small invertebrates as well as soft fruits. In the autumn, it migrates south to spend the winter in sub Saharan Africa. 
There are four subspecies which are divided into two groups: 
  •  The Western Subalpine Warbler includes both S. c. inornata which breeds in northwest Africa and S. c. iberiae which breeds on the Iberian Peninsula, in southeastern France and northwest Italy.
  • The Eastern Subalpine Warbler includes both S. c. cantillans which breeds in the southern half of Italy and S. c. albistriata which breeds in the Western Balkans, Greece (including the island of Crete) and Western Turkey. 
 The Moltoni's Warbler (Sylvia subalpina) which breeds in Mallorca, Corsica, Sardinia and parts of northern Italy is a closely related species that was previously treated as a fifth subspecies S. c. moltonii. In northern Italy there is zone of intergradation between Moltoni's Warbler and Eastern Subalpine Warbler. 

Text © 

Map of the breeding ranges of all five former taxa of the Subalpine Warbler complex. The grey zone in the north of Italy is of the intergradation between subalpina and cantillans. The points are locations with proven cases of sympatry. The map constructed by Lars Svensson from Shirihai et al (2001), Brambilla et al (2006), and comments from M. Ullman (© Lars Svensson).

Svensson, L. (2013a): A taxonomic revision of the Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 133: 240-248.
Svensson, L. (2013b): Subalpine Warbler variation and taxonomy. British Birds106: 651-668.