Olive-tree Warbler (Hippolais olivetorum)

Olive-tree Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Acrocephalidae | [latin] Hippolais olivetorum | [UK] Olive-tree Warbler | [FR] Contrefaisant des oliviers | [DE] Olivenspotter | [ES] Zarcero grande | [NL] Griekse Spotvogel


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Close in size to Barred Warbler but with longer bill and slightly shorter tail.
Large pear-shaped warbler, with heavy bill, rather flat crown, noticeably long wings, and heavy legs. Largest and deepest-billed Hippolais, with bulk recalling larger Acrocephalus warbler at times.
Closed wing-point forms 1/3 of total wing length, with primary-tips reaching beyond end of upper tail-coverts. Dusty or brownish-grey above, dusty-white below, with quite broad fore-supercilium, fairly distinct eye-ring, indistinct pale wing-bar, pale edges to inner flight-feathers forming wing panel, and greyish wash from side of neck to rear flank.
Sexes similar, little seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Olive-tree Warbler

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/O/Olive-tree Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 24 cm wingspan max.: 26 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Eurasia : Southcentral


Breeds in lower middle latitudes of west Palearctic in east Mediterranean zone. Also more coastal, insular, and arboreal, not ranging deep into continental hinterland but inhabiting marine islands and frequenting open-canopy oak woods, olive groves, orchards, almond plantations, and areas of other well-spaced trees with ample crowns.


Eggs laid second half of May and June. Nest site located in low tree, especially olive or oak, or in bush, height above ground 0.5-3 m. Nest is a deep rounded cup of grass, plant stems, strips of bark, and rootlets, including plant down, lined with fine pieces of grass, root fibres, sparingly with horse-hair, sometimes with plant down. Outside covered with thick layer of spiders’ webs. 3-4 eggs are laid, Incubation no longer than 13 days.

Feeding habits

Presumably chiefly invertebrates; figs recorded in late summer. Forages mainly within canopy of trees, also in bushes, and recorded feeding methodically on ground.


This species has a very 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 stable, 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 may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.
Hippolais olivetorum is a summer visitor to south-eastern Europe, which constitutes
>95% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively
small (<23,000 pairs), but was stable between 1970-1990. Despite declines in Greece and Croatia during 1990-2000, the species was stable or increased elsewhere within its European range, and probably remained stable overall. Although it was previously classified as Rare, the species's European breeding population is now known to exceed 10,000 pairs.
The distribution of this warbler is restricted to south-eastern Europe and the Near East, as far as Syria. It winters in eastern and south-eastern Africa. It inhabits open habitats with scattered trees, olive-tree plantations and orchards. Its Greek population seems to be stable
Olive-tree Warbler status Least Concern


Migratory, all birds wintering in eastern and southern Africa, from Kenya south to Natal (South Africa). Reported only from scattered localities, usually in acacia country. Recorded infrequently on passage in both seasons, chiefly single birds. Departs south chiefly end of July to early September. Arrives in breeding range early May, occasionally in April.

Distribution map

Olive-tree Warbler distribution range map

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