Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population has not been quantified since the species was split.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be increasing owing to a recent expansion in some areas of its breeding range. In Europe, trends between 1989 and 2013 have shown a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).


This species prefers tall and dense heterogeneous maquis with sparse tree cover in dry Mediterranean areas, particularly maquis of holm oak (Quercus ilex) and those dominated by strawberry tree (Arbutus) and tree-heath (Erica). It is also frequently found in young cork oak (Quercus suber) forest and in dense but treeless bushy areas. It uses bushy formations dominated by brambles (Rubus fruticosus) along sunny ravines and valley bottoms and prefers the intermediate stages of post-wildfire succession. Breeding occurs from late March to late June and the species is monogamous. The male constructs several ‘cock nests’ but both sexes build the breeding nest which is a deep, robust cup of grasses, thin roots and leaves and lined with finer grasses, rootlets and hair. It is placed in low scrub, bush or a small tree, c. 30–130 cm above the ground. Clutches are three to five eggs. The diet is mostly small insects and their larvae but outside of the breeding season berries and fruits are also taken. The species is a long distance migrant, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa (Aymí et al. 2015).


There are not thought to be any current significant threats to this species within its European range.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within its European range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species within Europe.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Sylvia cantillans. Downloaded from on 25/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2021.