This small but long tailed, large headed warbler, is a resident of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean where it is common, although is not present on the island of Menorca.
13cm to 17cm
8g to 12g
The adult male in breeding plumage is predominantly grey above and pale grey below, with a blue grey head and a pronounced red orbital ring surrounding a dark orange iris. There is a darker grey area forming a mask from the base of the top of the beak extending around the top of the eye. The flight feathers are a dark grey almost black with lighter edges and the bastard wing (alula) is black, fringed white. The long tail is black, fringed grey with white tips. Chin and throat are a pale grey morphing to an almost white breast, belly and vent. The flanks are a dirty white or light buff colour. The bill is a pinky orange with a black tip, particularly across the upper mandible and the legs are pinkish light brown. In non breeding plumage the upperparts and wing coverts of the adult male have more of a brownish hue and the dark face mask is less obvious. The underparts are more buff coloured than white whilst the area around the throat loses its grey colouration and becomes white. The plumage of the breeding female is similar to the non breeding plumage of the male but lacks the blue hue and overall is more of a brownish shade. Non breeding females have brown upperparts and white underparts.
Balearic Warbler perched on a branch
The call is a short medium pitched ‘chru – chru’ sound repeated often whilst the song is typically a series of warbles generally ending with a multi pitched trilling.
Balearic Warbler call / song
Hans Matheve, XC513940. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/513940.
The Balearic warbler survives mainly on a diet of insects and spiders which it takes during ground foraging of from branches and leaves on low scrub and bushes. It will also take flies in flight and seasonally will supplement its diet with fruits.
This bird is monotypic and endemic to the Balearic archipelago off the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, which includes the islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Cabrera and Formentera. It is not found on the island of Menorca, the second largest island of the group.
Balearic Warbler sat in a tree
Whilst mainly occupying areas of dry scrubland, pine forests and juniper trees are also favoured by this small, solitary, but pretty bird. Whilst its markings are similar in part to the Marmora’s Warbler and even the Dartford Warbler, it is widespread throughout its range and its blue grey head, orange iris and bold red orbital ring aids positive identification. It can often be seen singing at the top of a bush or tree top. The bird is resident within its range and is a common site in the Boquer Valley in the north of Mallorca.
At the start of the breeding season which runs from March through to June both parents construct a cup shaped nest lined with fine grasses and hair which is located in low lying scrub approximately half a metre above ground level. Two broods, each of between 2 – 4 eggs, are produced annually during the season and are incubated by both parents for up to two weeks. Fledging occurs some twelve days later.
The lifespan of the Balearic Warbler is up to five years.
An elusive reedbed-dwelling songbird, the moustached warbler breeds in marshlands across southern Europe. Rare reports of breeding in the UK do exist, although no sightings of the species have been confirmed in Britain since the 1940s.
Widespread across southern Europe and North Africa, Sardinian warblers are known for their chattering, fast-paced song, commonly heard throughout Mediterranean areas.
Yellow-browed warblers are rare winter visitors to the UK, with fewer than 30 birds arriving after their breeding season in Siberia has drawn to a close. A few hundred sightings of these tiny migrants are also recorded in passage each year, along the east coast of Scotland, and eastern and southern coasts of England.
Wood warblers are tuneful breeding visitors, arriving in British woodlands from April onwards. Well hidden in their preferred tree-filled landscapes, their bright yellow breast makes them easily distinguishable from other similar warbler species.
The diminutive Willow warbler is a small bird from the Leaf Warbler family Phylloscopidae which contains 80 species. Willow warblers are primarily insectivorous and are energetic, constantly moving birds that dart their tree and hedgerow habitats. They possess soft and subtle green plumage with a pale green-grey back, wings and tail with a pale grey stomach that has a slight yellow tinge.
Whitethroats are active warblers that can be seen and heard in hedgerows around Britain during spring and summer months, as they raise their young and busily forage for insects. Each autumn, they depart for wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa, returning in April to breed once more.
Widespread and common breeding visitors to the UK, sedge warblers arrive on marshlands and reedbeds in April, and spend up to 6 months on British soil (or wetlands, to be more accurate), raising their young, before preparing for lengthy migrations to wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa each autumn.
Savi’s warblers are long-distance migratory songbirds, breeding across continental Europe and north-west Africa, and spending winters in West Africa. Extremely rare in the UK, with only around 5 breeding pairs a year, Savi’s warblers are mostly found in marshlands and habitats with dense reed cover.
A wetland songbird with a rather unremarkable appearance, the reed warbler is a spring visitor to the UK, raising young in wetland reedbeds across England and Wales before returning to African wintering grounds at the end of the summer.
Seen only very occasionally in the UK, the marsh warbler is a long-distance migrant, breeding across central and eastern Europe and spending winters in south-eastern Africa. Sightings in Britain are limited to coastal areas, where up to only around 8 pairs are recorded as breeding each year.
Smaller and less common than the closely related whitethroat, the Lesser Whitethroat, is a hard-to-spot breeding visitor to the UK, due to its unremarkable plumage and favoured habitats of dense hedgerow vegetation.
A well-camouflaged visitor to grasslands and reedbeds, grasshopper warblers arrive in Britain to breed each spring. You may stand a better chance of hearing one than actually getting a sighting, as their secretive nature of creeping through vegetation makes them almost impossible to spot.
Garden warblers are unobtrusive, inconspicuous songbirds that are most commonly found foraging in woodlands during spring and summer months, before heading south to wintering grounds in Africa each autumn.
Mainly confined to lowland heaths in southern England, the Dartford warbler is an elusive little resident breeder with distinctive plumage and physical characteristics.
Until recently this small, solitary, old world leaf warbler was classified as being a member of the family Sylviidae, but following extensive research and reclassification, now falls within the family of Phylloscopidae.
A particularly hard-to-spot bush warbler, the Cetti’s warbler bred in Britain for the first time in the 1970s and now is an established species, with an expanded breeding range in wetland reedbeds around the southern, eastern and south-western coasts of England, and the south and north coasts of Wales.
Within its range and to differentiate it from other similar species, it is often referred to as an Eurasian Blackcap. This sexually dichromatic, stocky little warbler, is a member of the genus Sylvia and is sometimes nicknamed the Northern Nightingale due to its beautiful and frequent song.
Aquatic warblers are rare and temporary migrants to parts of southern England each autumn, en-route from their breeding grounds in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus to their winter territories in West Africa. Only around 40 sightings are reported each year, with the species classed as vulnerable and in decline.
Brighten up your inbox with our exclusive newsletter, enjoyed by thousands of people from around the world.
© 2023 - Birdfact. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.