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A photo of a Hume's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)
Hume's Leaf Warbler

Hume's Leaf Warbler

Phylloscopus humei

The Hume's leaf warbler, named in honor of the British civil servant and ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume, is a diminutive avian species that graces the mountainous regions of inner Asia. This bird, belonging to the genus Phylloscopus—derived from the Ancient Greek for "leaf seeker"—is a testament to the intricate beauty of nature with its greenish upperparts and off-white underparts. It is distinguished by a long supercilium, a crown stripe, and yellow-margined tertial remiges.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Hume's leaf warbler, look for its single prominent light wing bar and the faint vestige of a second. Its overall coloration is more subdued than that of its close relative, the yellow-browed warbler. Notably, it possesses a dark lower mandible and legs, which can aid observers in distinguishing it from similar species.


This species is a denizen of mountain woodlands, thriving at altitudes of up to 3,500 meters above sea level. It is a creature well-adapted to the lofty realms of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, Tien Shan, and Altay Mountains.


The Hume's leaf warbler is a migratory bird, breeding in the high mountains of Asia and wintering primarily in India. Its range extends from the eastern Tibetan Plateau to the Kutch region, with vagrancy observed as far as western Europe.


The Hume's leaf warbler is an active bird, constantly in motion as it flits through the arboreal canopy. Despite its approachability, its cryptic plumage and arboreal lifestyle often render it a challenge to spot. It is known to forage in the understory, and during the non-breeding season, adults may wander extensively.

Song & calls

The song of the Hume's leaf warbler is a high-pitched buzz, with its call being more disyllabic compared to the yellow-browed warbler. Despite differences in mitochondrial DNA and calls between the eastern and western populations, their songs remain similar.


This species constructs its nest on the ground, blending seamlessly with the natural environment. The breeding biology of the Hume's leaf warbler has been observed in the mountains of Kashmir, where it exhibits a fascinating array of reproductive behaviors.

Similar Species

The Hume's leaf warbler is often compared to the yellow-browed warbler, with which it shares overlapping ranges in the western Sayan Mountains. However, they do not hybridize, maintaining their distinct species status.

Diet and Feeding

As an insectivore, the Hume's leaf warbler partakes in a diet consisting of various insects, which it adeptly captures in the foliage of its woodland habitat.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Hume's leaf warbler as Least Concern, indicating a stable population across its extensive range. This species continues to flourish in its high-altitude homes, unthreatened by immediate environmental pressures.

In the voice of David Attenborough: "In the verdant canopies of Asia's mountain woodlands, the Hume's leaf warbler carries out its daily ballet. With a song as delicate as the whisper of leaves, it remains a jewel of the avian world, a testament to the resilience and diversity of life on our planet."

Hume's Leaf Warbler Sounds

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Hume's Leaf Warblers on Birda


More Leaf Warblers & Allies

A photo of a Tickell's Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus affinis)

Tickell's Leaf Warbler

Phylloscopus affinis
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