[order] Passeriformes | [family] Sylviidae | [latin] Hippolais polyglotta | [UK] Melodious Warbler | [FR] Hypola´s polyglotte | [DE] Orpheussp÷tter | [ES] Zarcero Com˙n | [IT] Canapino comune | [NL] Orpheusspotvogel

Orpheusspotvogel determination

copyright: J. Rochefort

Rather small to medium-sized and rather compact warbler, with long bill, (typically) round crown, and short wings; 2nd smallest Hippolais. Closed wing-point forms , of total wing length, with primary tips not reaching end of upper tail-coverts. Plumage as Icterine Warbler (including pale variants) but typically less bright, browner-green above and richer yellow below, with less striking head pattern, only indistinct pale edges to inner flight-feathers, and dull brown legs.

Breeds mainly in riverain forest, in formerly open areas becoming overgrown with pioneering tamarisk, elm, and white poplar. Advantage is also taken of trees and bushes occurring around cultivation

Hippolais polyglotta is a widespread summer visitor to south-western Europe, which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is very large (>1,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although most European populations increased or were stable during 1990-2000, the sizeable population in France declined, and no trend data were available for the Spanish stronghold

Chiefly adult and larval insects; fruit taken prior to migration. No detailed information. Feeds restlessly within shrubs and trees, recalling Phylloscopus warblers, carefully examining foliage to pick off insects before moving on abruptly, and darting through branches to snap up passing aerial prey. Like other Hippolais, has almost clumsy foraging action.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km▓. It has a large global population, including an estimated 2,000,000-5,900,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeds in France and Iberia from early May. Usually one brood. Nest is built in fork of branch or twigs of low tree or shrub. From 0.3-5.5 m above ground. Nest is a deep cup, often tapering down into fork, of plant stems and leaves, with plant down and spidersĹ webs, lined with hair, rootlets, and plant down, and sometimes feathers. Clutch size varies from 4-5, eggs incubated 12-14 days. Chicks fledge after 11-13 days.

Migratory, entire population wintering in West Africa. Widespread throughout woodland savanna north of rain forest, from Gambia and Sierra Leone east to Nigeria and Cameroon. Birds head mostly south-west initially (reverse in spring) to enter Africa via southern Iberia, where common and widespread at both seasons. Autumn migration begins late July. Passage in Strait of Gibraltar area from late July, mostly August to early September with stragglers continuing well into October. Spring migration begins early but is protracted, with late arrival on breeding grounds. Passage at Gibraltar late March to early June, peaking in May. In Britain and Ireland, 1958-85, 871 records, of which 94% in autumn (mainly August to mid-October), mostly in south and south-west, and 6% in spring (mainly mid-May to mid-June), mostly in south-east.