Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) influx in Catalonia (North-East Spain)

Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) is, by far, the commonest Siberian bird visiting West Europe. Within the last two decades an average of over 100 of them have been seen every autumn in both the UK and France. In fact, this species is no longer to be considered a rarity in these countries but a scarce migratory bird.

Yellow-browed Warblers breed in Central and East Siberia, where it prefers the huge boreal forests known as taiga. During migration it is likely to appear in small patches of trees, prefering decidous forest although it is also to be found in coniferous forests.


Yellow-browed Warblers (Phyllocopus inornatus) present a marked facial pattern ressembling Goldcrest and it is slightly smaller than Chiffchaffs.

This 2014 a large influx of YBs have been reported in France, Spain and even Morocco. In Catalonia, over 25 of them have been spotted in different localities, which it mades this year as the best for this warbler in the country. Despite most of the sights have been made along the coast or close to some birds have been found in mixed forest in inland wetlands.

Are we seeing a change in the migratory habits of this bird? Yellow-browned Warblers winters in South and South-East Asia. But it seems to be clear that at least a small portion of its population is not going to Asia for winter. An explanation to this aparently change of migratory habits is the increase of its breeding population at the West of the Urals. It was considered to be fairly scarce in the 60s but about 45.000 pairs were nesting in the area in the 90s.

But, where do these birds go? Do they winter in somewhere in South-West Europe? Or do they winter in some of the countries facing the Guinea Gulf? These questions are still without any answer. What it seems to be sure is that this bird becomes more and more common every autumn in Western Europe. Let see if this is a new trend!

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