Old World Warblers (Sylviidae)

Arabian Warbler (Sylvia leucomelaena) - HBW 11, p. 697

French: Fauvette d’Arabie German: Akaziengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca Árabe
Other common names: Red Sea Warbler; Blanford’s Warbler (somaliensis and blanfordi)

Taxonomy: Curruca leucomelaena Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833, central Midyan, Saudi Arabia.
Generic placement of this species formerly uncertain; thought by some to be better included in the timaliid genus Parisoma. Has sometimes been considered to form a superspecies with S. hortensis, but the two differ significantly in e.g. size, iris colour, tail pattern and tail movements, juvenile plumage and voice. Recent phenotypic and genetic studies suggest that both are closely related to, and form a clade with, S. buryi and S. lugens. Races form two groups, one N & E of Red Sea (nominate and negevensis) and the other W & S of Red Sea (blanford.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Curruca leucomelaena Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833, central Midyan, Saudi Arabia.
Generic placement of this species formerly uncertain; thought by some to be better included in the timaliid genus Parisoma. Has sometimes been considered to form a superspecies with S. hortensis, but the two differ significantly in e.g. size, iris colour, tail pattern and tail movements, juvenile plumage and voice. Recent phenotypic and genetic studies suggest that both are closely related to, and form a clade with, S. buryi and S. lugens. Races form two groups, one N & E of Red Sea (nominate and negevensis) and the other W & S of Red Sea (blanfordi and somaliensis), these differing primarily in size and in degree of sexual dimorphism; both groups exhibit clinal variation in upperpart coloration (becoming darker and less grey from N to S), and W group also in amount of white on tail (increasing from N to S). Birds from Yemen described as a further race, distincta, but fall into range of individual variation of nominate, within which therefore included. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • negevensis Shirihai, 1988 - Arava Valley, along Israel-Jordan border.
  • leucomelaena (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) - NW Saudi Arabia (Tabuk and Khaybar) to S Yemen, then E to Dhofar (Oman).
  • blanfordi Seebohm, 1879 - SE Egypt (Gebel Elba) S along coast to SE Eritrea.
  • somaliensis (W. L. Sclater & Mackworth-Praed, 1918) - Djibouti and N Somalia.

  •      No sound recordings available yet