basic information

Menetries Warbler

Sylvia mystacea (Menetries, 1832)

Белоусая славка | Ақмұртты сандуғаш

South Kazakhstan area. Akkum.
© Andrey Kovalenko


Male Menetries's Warbler in spring plumage have black crown and ear coverts, grey buffy tinged nape, grey back and bluish-grey uppertail. Flight feathers are brownish with broad pale edges; tail feathers are black-brown, but outer pair have all-white outer web and white terminal patch on inner web, next pair have only white terminal patch. White “moustache” start from base of mouth. Throat, breast, belly and undertail are whitish-pink. Skinny eye-ring is bright-red with sticking piece of skin. Female is notable paler than male. Female's upperparts are brownish-grey, flight feathers are dark-brownish with buffy edges. Underparts are whitish with buffy tinge on breast and flanks. Juveniles in first plumage are similar on female but dimmer. Adult male have black bill with yellowish base of low mandible; females and juveniles have dark brown bill; legs of male are reddish; legs of females and juveniles are yellowish-brown; eyes of male are reddish-brown; eyes of females and juveniles are brownish. Sizes: males - wing 57-62 ; females - wing 57 - 62 mm.


Menetries's Warbler breeds on islands and east coast of Aral Sea, and in Syrdarya valley. On migration occurs regularlyu in foothills of Western Tien Shan and once on islands of Caspian Sea. Please see detailed distribution in the section Subspecies.


Menetries's Warbler is common breeding migrant. Inhabits bush thickets on edge of riparian forest, along irrigation channels, near oasis and gardens, on clay patches among hilly sands. On migration occurs in man-made implantations. Appears in end March - early April. Nest is built in Halimodendron sp., Calligonum sp., tamarisk and other bushes up to 20-50 cm above ground from thin twigs and dry grass lined with thin grass and some hair often. Clutches of 3-5 eggs founded in early May – early June. Both parents incubate and feed juveniles, which fledge in June. Autumn migration is not known. At Chokpak Pass singles caught September 13 1972 and September 22 1986. Latest bird on Syrdarya valley recorded October 25 1927.


Sylvia mystacea mystacea (Menetries, 1832)

    Description. Upperparts darker, the vine tinge on underparts is richer and more intense than in turcmenica.
    Distribution. Recorded on islands of Northern Caspian Sea at April 21 2009 by Victoria Kovshar.

Sylvia mystacea turcmenica (Zarudny & Bilkevich, 1918)

    Description. Upperparts paler, the vine tinge on underparts is less rich and intense than in mystacea.
    Distribution. Breeds on islands and east coast of Aral Sea, in Syrdarya valley and in territory adjacent Kyzylkum desert. At once shot in August 1927 in Talasskiy Alatau at Ur-Maral. On migration occurs repeatedly in autumn in foothills of Western Tien Shan at Chokpak Pass.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 4. Алма-Ата, 1972. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.



Sylvia mystacea mystacea
(Menetries, 1832)
Sylvia mystacea turcmenica
(Zarudny & Bilkevich, 1918)

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