Pallas’s Warbler

Pallas's Leaf Warbler, The Lizard, Cornwall, CoverackThis autumn and winter visitor to The Lizard was hanging out at Coverack’s sewage works in early 2019.
Photo: Dougy Wright

Scientific name: Phylloscopus proregulus

Other common names: Pallas’s Leaf Warbler

Conservation status: IUCN, Least Concern

What to look for:

Colouring and appearance: Small, with a lemon coloured rump, greenish upperparts and pale underparts, yellow crown and cheek stripes, yellow double wingbars, and a short tail.
Size: length 9 to 9.5 cm.
Where: In the UK, mostly in autumn as a rare visitor
Call: Varied and strong vocalisations, including whistles

Pallas's Leaf Warbler, The Lizard, Cornwall, CoverackThe tiny, pretty Pallas’s Warbler – no larger than a Goldcrest – hails from the mountainous forests of Siberia, Mongolia and China. Its wintering grounds are in southern China and southeast Asia, but increasingly it is making its way to Europe in the autumn, with some found in the UK. The first European record was in Dalmatia (now Croatia) in 1829, and the first UK record was in 1896. A second British record had to wait until 1951 and, although numbers vary, a few hundred visit our shores each year. Like Mary Poppins, they are carried here on easterly winds.

In its Asian breeding territories, females make their nests in trees and shrubs in coniferous taiga habitat, and then feed the chicks after hatching. Males share in feeding duties after fledging. This is an insectivorous species, feeding on both insect adults and larvae. When visiting our shores, it is more often seen in autumn, close to the coast.

Did you know…?

…Pallas’s Warbler is one of the smallest Eurasian warbler species.

…Its song has led to it being hailed the ‘canary of the taiga’.

Pallas's Leaf Warbler, The Lizard, Cornwall, CoverackMore information and references:

Svensson, L., Mullarney, K., Zetterstrom, D.,1986. Collins Bird Guide, second edition (translated by Christie, D., Svensson, L.). HarperCollins, London.

Published: February 2019
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Dougy Wright