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Icterine warbler Hippolais icterina

The icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina) is an Old World warbler in the tree warbler genus Hippolais. It breeds in mainland Europe except the southwest, where it is replaced by its western counterpart, melodious warbler. It is migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa.

Description & appearance

A fairly big warbler with a large head, broad based bill and long wings with a quite short square ended tail. The upperparts are greyish-green and the underparts are uniformly light yellow. It has pale lores and a rather vague yellowish supercilium with a pale eye ring. Other distinguishing features include a panel on the folded wings formed by pale edges to the secondary feathers and tertiary feathers and the grey, sometimes bluish legs.

Voice, singing & call

The song is a fast nasal babbling incorporating mimicry of other species. The call is described as teck or tec, tec, tec.

Distribution & habitat

The icterine warbler has the most northerly and widespread distribution of the four Hippolais species, its breeding range extends from northern France and Norway through most of northern and eastern Europe, south as far as the northern Balkans mountains and Crimea mountains eastwards in a narrowing band to the River Ob. It has bred in Scotland recently but it is normally a passage migrant in Great Britain and Ireland.

It is a migratory species and the entire population winters in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly south of the equator. It begins its southward migration from late July, peaking in early August and returns to the breeding range in late May.The icterine warbler is a bird of woodland rather than forest, preferring woodland edge or glades, favouring the crowns of well spaced trees with tall undergrowth. Prefers broad leafed trees, but may be found in conifers mixed with broad leafed trees. Will use copses, orchards, parks, gardens, shelterbelts and tall hedges interspersed with trees.


The icterine warbler is mainly insectivorous but will feed on fruit in late summer. It forages amomng the foliage taking insects either on the leaves or fluttering, will flycatch.

Breeding, mating, chicks, juveniles & raise

In general it is clumsier than the smaller but superficially similar Phylloscopus warblers. Rather solitary and it is territorial on both the breeding and wintering grounds. Four to six eggs are laid in a nest in a tree or a bush.

Important Note:

This text is based on the article Icterine warbler from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported (short version). A list of the authors is available on Wikipedia.