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A photo of a Rüppell's Warbler (Curruca ruppeli), male
Rüppell's Warbler, Male

Rüppell's Warbler

Curruca ruppeli

The Rüppell's warbler, Curruca ruppeli, presents itself as a typical representative of the genus Curruca. This warbler is characterized by its slim build, slightly more so than the robust Sardinian warbler. The adult's attire is a modest grey on the back with a lighter shade gracing the underparts. A fine and pointed bill, brown legs, and red eyes complete the ensemble. The male is particularly striking with his black head and often black throat, which are set off by a white malar streak, reminiscent of a dashing moustache. In contrast, the female sports a pale throat and her grey head lacks the male's black, instead showing a brownish tinge to the grey back.

Identification Tips

To identify the Rüppell's warbler, look for the male's distinctive black head and throat, separated by the white malar streak. Females are more subtly marked with a pale throat and a grey head that lacks the black coloring. Both sexes have red eyes, a fine and pointed bill, and brown legs.

Habitat

These warblers favor thick, thorny shrubs, which provide both shelter and nesting sites.

Distribution

Rüppell's warbler breeds in Greece, Turkey, and neighboring islands. It is a migratory species, spending the winter in northeast Africa. Occasionally, this bird is a rare vagrant to western Europe.

Behaviour

Rüppell's warbler is an active bird, often found flitting about in dense shrubbery. It is migratory, traveling long distances between its breeding and wintering grounds.

Song & calls

The song of the Rüppell's warbler is a slower, deeper rattle compared to that of the Sardinian warbler, providing an auditory clue to its identification.

Breeding

In their preferred habitat of thorny shrubs, Rüppell's warblers construct their nests and lay clutches of four to six eggs.

Similar Species

Rüppell's warbler forms a superspecies with the Cyprus warbler, sharing characteristics such as dark throats, white malar streaks, and light remigial fringes. It is also related to other Sylvia warblers of the Mediterranean and Middle East, such as the eastern subalpine warbler, Sardinian warbler, and Ménétries's warbler, which have a naked eye-ring and may or may not have a clear white malar streak.

Diet and Feeding

As an insectivorous passerine, the Rüppell's warbler's diet consists primarily of small insects.

Conservation status

The Rüppell's warbler is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers.

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