Old World Warblers (Sylviidae)

Chestnut-vented Warbler (Sylvia subcaerulea) - HBW 11, p. 708

French: Parisome grignette German: Meisengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca Sureña
Other common names: Cape Warbler/Tit-babbler/Tit-warbler, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Rufous-vented Warbler, Southern Warbler/Tit-warbler, Tit Babbler

Taxonomy: Sylvia subcaerulea Vieillot, 1817, Gourits River, Western Cape, South Africa.
Formerly placed in genus Parisoma within babbler family (Timaliidae), but recent studies of morphology, behaviour, vocalizations and mitochondrial DNA indicate that it is better included in present genus. Geographical differences in plumage coloration seem to be mainly clinal, and intermediates frequent; validity of some races merits further study. Proposed race ombuensis (described from WC Namibia) synonymized with cinerascens, which intergrades rather widely with nominate and with ansorgei. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • ansorgei (Zedlitz, 1921) - SW & S Angola.
  • cinerascens (Reichenow, 1902) - Namibia and Botswana.
  • subcaerulea Vieillot, 1817 - W South Africa (E to SW Free State and Eastern Cape).
  • orpheana (Clancey, 1954) - W & C Zimbabwe, South Africa (W Northern Province S to Free State, also locally KwaZulu-Natal) and lowland Lesotho.