Birds of the World






Totipalmate Swm



 NW Vultures







   NW Flycatchers


 Aust. Wrens
 Aust. Robins
 OW Orioles
 OW Flycatchers
 N Creepers
 OW Warblers
 OW Sparrows
 9-prim. Oscines

   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   NW Blackbirds


Passeriformes, Oscines, Passerida, Sylviioidea - "Warblers"
Skip to:   
Passerida, Sylviioidea
Families: Leaf-Warbler, Bushtits, Ground-Warblers, Grass Warblers, Malagasy Warblers,
   Marsh Warblers, Bulbuls, Hypocolius, Cisticolas, White-eyes
White-cheeked Bulbul, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Straw-headed Bulbul
  Order Passeriformes - Perching Birds
   Suborder Passeres - "Oscines," Song Birds
Wiki     ToL     EoL
Wiki     ToL
  Passerines. Most passerines are smaller than members of non-passerine orders. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one (the hallux) backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young are altricial - they hatch blind with little or no down - and nidicolous - spending 10-15 days or so in the nest.  Subsequent development is rapid and young approach adult mass at fledging. Parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines, Suborder Passeres, are our "song birds" with complex syringeal muscles used to produce varied and complex vocalizations.
Passerida. Radiation in Eurasia, Africa and North America (with later colonization of South America). Passerida have two humeral fossae (Corvida have one).
Sylviioidea - drab, monomorphic sleek passerines, centered in Indo-Pacific areas
  Family Phylloscopidae - Leaf-Warblers and Allies
  66 species, 2 genera (Phylloscopus (EoL), Seicercus (EoL)). Eurasia, ranging to Wallacea and Africa. The Arctic Warbler, P borealis, breeds east to Alaska. This is a newly described family separated from the Sylviidae. The Golden-spectacled Warbler, S. burkii (Sibley and Monroe, 1990) has been split into 6 species.
Species are of various sizes, often greenish above with some yellow below to more subdued colors. The Seicercus warblers have greenwings and most have yellow underparts. The tails are relatively short and contain 12 feathers (unlike Abroscopus spp). These are active arboreal warblers that normally in fairly open woodland. Most species are territorial.
Common Chiffchaff
Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita.
National Garden, Athens, Greece
Photo by Ed Konrad
                                         Wiki     EoL
  Famly Aegithalidae – Long-tailed Tits, Bushtits
Wiki     EoL
  12 (8-11)  species, 3 (4) genera. The Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatua, occurs in Eurasia; the Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) is found in western North America (Canada to Guatemala). Its ancestor may have entered North America via the Bering land bridge in late Miocene.
   These are small passerines with long tails. They have a stout, conical bill, rounded wings, and small legs and feet. The head and face are often marked and several species have bright eye rings. Upper parts are dull and unnderparts are white or gray. The are highly social and forage in fast-moving flocks. Like tits, individuals keep in contact with contact notes. The are found in woodlands, tangles, heaths, hedges, and along the edges of fields. They feed on a mixed diet that includes insects, small seeds and fruit. They may hang from branches or hover while gleaning prey. They may also drink tree sap.
   They make a woven bag nest with a side entry, and place it in a tree or bush. They lay 8-12 eggs. The female incubates them for 12-18 days. Young are fed by parents and helpers for about 12 weeks after fledging.
  Family Cettidae - Ground-Warblers and Allies
 Wiki     EoL
  16 species, 1 genus (Cettia). Old World - Europe to the western Pacific.
   Small birds with long tails, well adapted for climbing. They are terrestrial and live in dense vegetation (forests, reed beds) and walk away from disturbance rather than flying. They are grayish brown above and buff to light gray below and have a supercilium.
  Family Megaluridae  – Megalurid (Grass) Warblers
21 species, 10 genera, Small Old World passerines. Sibley and Monroe (1990) include Amphilais, Megalurus (EoL), Cincloramphus, Eremiornis, Buettikoferella, Megalurulus (EoL), Trichocichla, Chaetornis, Graminicola, and Schoenicola in the Subfamily Megalurinae, Family Sylviidae. Clements (2007), Dickinson (2003), and Harris (2009) retain these genera in the Family Sylviidae but recent evidence suggests separating this group. They are perhaps closest to the the Malagasy warblers (Family Bernieriidae).
   Drab birds, found in open grassland, scrub areas, or marshes. Some are streaked, others are plain. They are insectivorous. The song of several species is a mechanical, insect-like screeching.   
  Family Bernieriidae - Malagasy Warblers?
  the genera Thamnornis and Cryptosylvicola from the Family Sylviidae, and the genera Hartertula, Crossleyia, and Oxylabes from the family Timaliidae.
   Probably a valid clade. Several of the species are poorly known. Most Malagasy warblers live in humid rainforest in eastern Madagascar. A few are found in the dryer southwest of the island.
  Family Acrocephalidae - Marsh- and Tree-Warblers,
  50 species, 4 genera (Acrocephalus (EoL), Hippolais, Chloropeta, Nesillas). South to western Eurasia, ranging into the Pacific with some species in Africa. The genus limits need revision - either most species belong in Acrocephalus or that genus needs to be split. Study needed.
   These are somewhat larger warblers - most are green/brown above with yellow/beige below
  Family Pycnonotidae – Bulbuls, Greenbuls
Wiki     EoL
  137 (130-122) species, 21 (24) genera. Africa and Asia, south into Melanesia. Forest species are known as greenbuls. Red-whiskered (Pycnotus jocosus) and Red-vented (Pycnotuscafer) Bulbuls have entered the pet trade and have been widely introduced in tropical and sub-tropical areas (Florida, Hawaii, Fiji, Australia). Based on recent DNA studies, Bernaria (1 sp.) and Xanthomixis (5 spp.) have recently been split from the the genus Phyllastrephus (Pycnonotidae) and tentatively grouped into the Family Bernieriidae. Nicator (3 spp) also belongs elsewhere (incertae sedis). With this many species it is likely that the core family remains paraphyletic and will be further clarified in the future.
   They are small to medium sized passerines. They have oval nostrils with a sheet of bone or tissue covering the posterior part of the opening. The bill is usually short and slender and the upper mandible may be hooked at the tip. All have rictal bristles. They are slender birds with 10 primaries and a moderately long tail with 12 feathers. Sexes look alike (monomorphic). Some are colorful but most are drab and their plumage is soft. They have short tarsi, heavy rump plumage, and a patch of bristle-like feathers in the nape region, forming a distinctive crest. They often inhabit tree tops – some are found in undergrowth and a few range into desert scrub. They are mostly frugivorous but some also eat insects and seeds. Nectar, nuts, pollen, bee larvae, wax, and bird's eggs also form part of the dieet in some species. They are highly vocal - some make really unpleasant noises.
   Some have elaborate displays, others gather in leks (Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Andropadus latirostris). Most form individual pairs, some are cooperative breeders. Both sexes build, incubate, and care for the young. They build cup-shaped nests and lay 1-5 eggs. Incubation lasts 11-14 days. Young fledge at 11-18 days.
  White-cheeked Bulbul


   Pivot Fields,
   Dubai UAE.
        Wiki     EoL
   Photo by
   Ed Konrad
Yellow-vented Bulbul Straw-headed Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Pycnonotus goiavier
                                             Wiki     EoL
Straw-headed Bulbul,
Pycnonotus zeylanicus
                                            Wiki     EoL
Singapore.                         Photos by Ed Konrad
  (Family Hypocoliidae - Hypocolius)
Wiki     EoL
  1 species, 1 genus (Hypocolius) - the Grey Hypocolius (H. ampelinus). Middle East (southwestern Asia). Dickinson (2007) places this species in a subfamily of the Ptilogonatidae. Clements (2007) places it in a separate family following the Bombycillidae. Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) place it as a family after the Pycnonotidae. Harris (2009) does not include the species. Related to waxwings? bulbuls? Wikipedia places it after the Sylviidae in a separate family.
   The Grey Hypocolius is a slim bird with long tail, a slight crest, and a short bill. The plumage is satiny like that of the waxwings. Birds are gray - males have a triangular mask around the eyes. Their black primaries are tipped with white. Hypocolius is shy and hides in dense cover. They are arboreal and forage in trees, palm groves, and orchards. Food includes fruits and berries. This is a difficult bird to study.
  Family  Cisticolidae – Cisticolas, African Warblers
Wiki     EoL
  119 (111-110) species, 14 (21) genera. This group probably originated in Africa and as spread to eastern Europe and across the Middle East to tropical Asia and into Australia. It was previously placed in the Family Sylviidae.
   These are small, long-tailed warblers. Males are usually larger than the females. Their bills are fine and slender to somewhat longer and slightly decurved.  They have 10 primaries and 6 secondaries. The tails and legs/feet vary. Some cisticolas have drab or grey underparts, others are heavily streaked dorsally. The head color varies. Prinias include both streaked and plain species with varied colors. Apalises are brighter and more colorful. The birds occur in a range of habitats from dry sccrub, saltmarsh to secondary woodlands and the edges of tropical forests. They are difficult to identify without their song. They are insectivorous birds.
   Most are monogamous (the Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis, and Golden-headed Cisticola, C. exilis, are polygynous). Several species are more social and defend common territories. There may also be helpers. They female builds an oval nest with a side entrance or a cup of fibers. They lay 2-5 eggs which are incubated for 12 days (mostly by the female). Nestings fledge in about 12 days and are fed by both parents (except in the polygynous species) and for 20 days after fledging.
Zitting Cisticola

Zitting Cisticola (Streaked Fantail Warbler), Cisticola juncidis.
Oropos. Greece.
Photo by Ed Konrad
                                       Wiki      EoL
    Family  Zosteropidae – White-eyes, Silver-eyes, Cleptornis
Wiki     EoL
    96 (96-95) species, 14 genera. Tropical and sub-tropical Africa, Madagascar, southern Asia, and Australasia, New Guinea and most of the Indian and Pacific Ocean islands. One species has colonized New Zealand. They have also been introduced into Hawaii and Tahiti. Generic relations are not clear. Speirops (4 spp) are restricted to islands in the Gulf of Guinea and probably descended from a common ancestor. The Bonin White-eye, Apalopteron familiare, was formerly placed in the Meliphagidae.
   They are small oscines with a reduced or missing 10th (outer) primary. Most have a circumorbital ring of white feathers (hence the name). Sexes are alike. They have slender, usually straight or decurved bills and operculate nostrils. Many species have a bifid extensible, brush-tipped tongue, The plumage tends to be yellowish or greenish above and whitish to drab below and the sexes are usually similar. They are social and form large flocks outside the breeding season. They feed on insects but may also eat nectar, fruit, and pollen. They feed on fruit by piercing it with the bill and extracting juice and pulp with their long tongue. Most inhabit woodlands but some are found in coastal mangroves, forest edges, and drier scrub areas. 
   They are territorial and most mate for life. They build a cup nest and lay 1-3 eggs. Both parents incubate for ~13 days. Young fledge after 12 days and are fed by both parents for several days post-fledging.