[Authority] Bechstein, 1795 | [group] Old World warblers | [order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Sylviidae | [latin] Sylvia nisoria | [UK] Barred Warbler | [FR] Fauvette eperviere | [DE] Sperber-Grasmucke | [ES] Curruca Gavilana | [NL] Sperwergrasmus | copyright picture

copyright: A. Isabekov

Quite large, robust warbler, with strong bill, rather big head, large feet, and long and full tail. Plumage basically grey-toned above and cream to brown-white below, with best-marked, males showing grey upperparts, staring pale eye, and copious but well-spaced barring particularly on underparts. Dullest females have browner upperparts and less barring. Sexes dissimilar, some seasonal variation.

Breeds in upper middle latitudes of warm continental west and central Palerctic, in temperate, steppe, and marginally in boreal zones. Mainly in lowlands but ascends in USSR to 1500 m. Avoids both arid and wetland areas and is not a forest bird, but will inhabit narrow shelterbelts and plantations, clearings in broad-leaved and mixed woodlands with plenty of undergrowth, and early stages of regrowth of felled or burnt timber. Also frequents bushy hillsides, rough growth on woodland margins or by pasture or meadowland, roadside verges, parks, orchards, and riverain thickets.

Sylvia nisoria is a widespread summer visitor to central and eastern Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>460,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in some marginal populations during 1990-2000, most populations, including the sizeable one in Ukraine, were stable or increasing.
This warbler has a wide distribution in southern and Eastern Europe and western Asia, from Italy and the southern coasts of the Baltic Sea to the Altai and Tian Chan mountains. It winters in East Africa, from Ethiopia to northern Tanzania. While its has increased and extended its distribution since the 1920s, it has decreased recently in some regions, e.g. southern Germany. Overall its populations seem to be stable, however, and the total population of the European Union is estimated at 10000-12000 breeding pairs, which represents about 4% of the total European population, Russia not included

Chiefly invertebrates but in late summer and autumn mainly berries. Forages mostly in low bushes for insects.

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be fluctuating, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeds May-June in Central and West Europe, June in Finland. Nest site is built in young trees shrubs, and brambles. Nest is a substantial, well-built cup of stalks and grass stems, with some twigs, rootlets, and spider cocoons and cobwebs, lined with finer material and hair. Supported on twigs, shoots, and suckers, though not attached to them. 4-5 eggsare laid, incubation, 12-13 days, by both sexes.

Migratory, all populations wintering in East Africa, from Sudan to Tanzania. Arrives on breeding grounds late (not until mid-May in north), and departs early (mainly August). Autumn migration very inconspicuous, presumably due mainly to skulking habits and long-stage overflying- north of initial concentrations, spring movement also often unobtrusive. Passage of all populations both seasons is chiefly funnelled through Levant and Middle East. In view of standard direction, overshooting spring migrants surprisingly rare in Britain: only 7 records during 1958-85. In autumn, however, vagrants (chiefly juveniles) appear regularly west and north-west of breeding range, presumably due to reversed migration.