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Old World Warblers: Sylviidae

Arctic Warbler (phylloscopus Borealis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The Arctic warbler is 4.1 to 5.1 inches long (10.4 to 13 centimeters) and weighs 0.3 to 0.5 ounces (8 to 15 grams). It has an olive-green back, yellowish white belly, a dark eye line, and straw-colored legs. Its wings are long with two white bars on them.

Geographic range: This species is found in Alaska, Scandinavia, Japan, and the northern regions of Europe and Asia. It winters in Southeast Asia.

Habitat: Arctic warblers live mainly in deciduous forests in the North and in taiga, or subarctic wet evergreen forests. They will winter in rainforest, gardens, woodlands, and mangroves.

Diet: These birds eat insects, especially mosquitoes, and larvae.

Behavior and reproduction: The Arctic warbler finds insects and larvae in leaves, high above the ground. A very active bird, it darts among trees and will flick its wings and tail when it perches.

These birds prefer to live alone or with a mate. Sometimes, they will gather in small family groups. The male will defend his territory through song and wing twitching displays.

Arctic warblers mate for life. The female builds a dome-shaped nest of dry grasses and hair, with a side entrance on the forest floor. The female then lays five to seven pink-speckled white eggs and incubates them for eleven to thirteen days. Hatchlings stay in the nest for thirteen to fourteen days and are fed by both parents.

Arctic warblers and people: There is no known significance to humans.

Conservation status: This species is not considered to be threatened. ∎



Baker, Kevin. Warblers of Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

BirdLife International. Threatened Birds of the World. Barcelona and Cambridge, U.K.: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, 2000.

Perrins, Christopher. Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Richmond Hill, Canada: Firefly Books, 2003.

Shirihai, Hadoram, Gabriel Gargallo, and Andreas J. Helbig. Sylvia Warblers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Weidensaul, Scott. Birds (National Audubon Society First Field Guides). New York: Scholastic Trade, 1998.


Rodewald, P. G., and Margaret C. Brittingham. "Habitat Use and Behavior of Mixed Species Landbird Flocks during Fall Migration." Wilson Bulletin (March 2002): 87–99.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsOld World Warblers: Sylviidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Zitting Cisticola (cisticola Juncidis): Species Accounts, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (polioptila Caerulea): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, OLD WORLD WARBL