Old World Warblers (Sylviidae)

Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana) - HBW 11, p. 698

French: Fauvette naine German: Wüstengrasmücke Spanish: Curruca Sahariana
Other common names: Desert Whitethroat; Meinertzhagen’s Warbler (“S. ticehursti”)

Taxonomy: Curruca nana Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833, El Tor, Sinai Peninsula, north-east Egypt.
Races are widely separated geographically and differ markedly in voice, plumage and morphology, as well as in migratory behaviour; some authors suggest that present knowledge supports treatment of these as two separate species, although genetic data lacking. Proposed race theresae (described from Sind, in Pakistan) falls within range of individual variation of nominate, and is therefore synonymized with it. Form named as S. ticehursti, described on basis of single specimen from S Morocco (near Ouarzazate), and traditionally treated either as a separate species or as a race of .. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Curruca nana Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833, El Tor, Sinai Peninsula, north-east Egypt.
Races are widely separated geographically and differ markedly in voice, plumage and morphology, as well as in migratory behaviour; some authors suggest that present knowledge supports treatment of these as two separate species, although genetic data lacking. Proposed race theresae (described from Sind, in Pakistan) falls within range of individual variation of nominate, and is therefore synonymized with it. Form named as S. ticehursti, described on basis of single specimen from S Morocco (near Ouarzazate), and traditionally treated either as a separate species or as a race of S. deserticola, is most probably an aberrant individual of race maroccana of latter (which it resembles in general structure and in tail and tertial patterns), or a hybrid between it and race deserti of present species (which it resembles in having pale sandy-brown upperparts). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • nana (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) - breeds from N & E Caspian Sea coasts and C & NE Iran E to S Mongolia and NW China; non-breeding NE Africa and Arabia E to NW India.
  • deserti (Loche, 1858) - NW Africa, from Western Sahara E to W Libya.