Old World Warblers (Sylviidae)

Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans) - HBW 11, p. 704

French: Fauvette passerinette German: Weißbart-Grasmücke Spanish: Curruca Carrasqueña
Other common names: Moltoni’s Warbler (moltonii); Eastern Subalpine Warbler (albistriata)

Taxonomy: Motacilla (cantillans) Pallas, 1764, Italy.
Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with S. mystacea, probably because race rubescens of latter approaches present species in several aspects; phenotypically and genetically, however, the two are very different and clearly merit treatment as separate species. They are part of a group that also contains S. undata, S. sarda, S. balearica, S. deserticola, S. conspicillata, S. melanocephala, S. rueppelli and S. melanothorax. Differentiation among races markedly larger than in most congeners; only NW African inornata.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Motacilla (cantillans) Pallas, 1764, Italy.
Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with S. mystacea, probably because race rubescens of latter approaches present species in several aspects; phenotypically and genetically, however, the two are very different and clearly merit treatment as separate species. They are part of a group that also contains S. undata, S. sarda, S. balearica, S. deserticola, S. conspicillata, S. melanocephala, S. rueppelli and S. melanothorax. Differentiation among races markedly larger than in most congeners; only NW African inornata less distinct and without specific vocal characters, apparently intergrading with nominate in wide areas of S Portugal and S Spain. Highly distinctive race moltonii (with distinct call and moult strategy, delayed breeding season, and very divergent mitochondrial DNA) may merit full species status; this taxon previously thought to be entirely insular, but recent studies indicate that it occupies also N & C Italy. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cantillans (Pallas, 1764) - breeds from Portugal to SE France (occasionally S Switzerland), and in S Italy and Sicily; non-breeding W Sahel (from coastal Senegal and SW Mauritania E to E Chad), locally in Algerian Sahara Desert.
  • moltonii Orlando, 1937 - breeds Balearic Is (mostly Mallorca and Cabrera), Corsica, Sardinia, some Tuscan islands and N & C Italy, perhaps also SE France; non-breeding W Sahel.
  • inornata Tschusi, 1906 - breeds S Iberia and from Morocco (W Haut Atlas) E to N Tunisia; non-breeding W Sahel (from Senegal E to Niger).
  • albistriata (C. L. Brehm, 1855) - breeds from extreme NE Italy (Trieste) S along N Adriatic coast to Albania and E to S Bulgaria, Greece and W Turkey, also in SW Romania; non-breeding C & E Sahel (from about E Mali E to NW Sudan).