IberiaNature A-Z birds in Spain

Olivaceous warblers in Madrid

27/07/2006 Derek Ive and avian pathologist Rafael Campos sent me these photos from somewhere in the Sierra de Madrid.

Derek says "I've been following the evolution of two baby olivaceous warblers (Hippolais opaca - zarcero pálido) that hatched in a viburnum in front of the house. I'm excited about them as it's the first nest of this species we've had".

Juana and Varela's Aves de España has them present in the Eastern Mancha and up to Aragon, but some way from Madrid. Derek again "These olivaceous warblers were at over 1000 metre altitude in Somosierra. Must say something about global warming!"

"I was back  up in the sierra on Friday as we had planned another picture --  but alas the nest was empty. I immediately blamed the usual suspects -- azure winged magpies, relentless nest predators (not to mention fruit!). As usual with natural losses of this kind you can't help feeling disappointed. But in this case it didn't last long. Walking round the corner of the house I was greeted with familiar olivaceous alarm chatter, and baby-bird calls for food coming from the depths of a 12-foot yew I brought back from Surrey as a six-inch seedling some years ago".

"It is miraculous that only five days later these tiny tots had flown 30 yards and were safe and sound. Later in the day they'd moved to denser bramble cover nearby, and we can assume they are on their way preparing for their long autumn journey south. "

Olivaceous warbler in Spain

The western olivaceous warbler is present in south-east Spain, where it breeds, from April to September before heading south to winter in sub-Saharan Africa. Perhaps 5,000 pairs (Juana and Varela, 2006)

The western olivaceous warbler is a are small passerine found in dry open country, including cultivation, with bushes or some trees. 2-3 eggs are laid in a nest in low in undergrowth or a bush. Like most warblers, they are insectivorous.They are medium-sized warblers, more like a very pale Reed Warbler than their relative the Melodious Warbler . The adults of have a plain pale brown back and whitish underparts. The bill is strong and pointed and the legs grey. The sexes are identical, as with most warblers, but young birds are more buff on the belly. Both species have a characteristic downward tail flick. Wikipedia


Translation in Spanish: olivaceous warbler (Hippolais opaca) - zarcero pálido



See also Derek Ive's Scop's owl.






















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