Arctic Warbler – Accepted

1. 13 Sep 1995


Big Sur R. mouth MTY



Fig. 264, ph., Garrett & Singer (1998), Roberson (2002:278)

2. 29 Sep–01 Oct 1996


Oceano SLO



ph., McCaskie & San Miguel (1999)

3. 07 Sep 2000


Mountain View SCL











Figure 264. California’s list expanded to include the Arctic Warbler on 13 September 1995, when this first-fall bird was captured and photographed at the mouth of the Big Sur River in Monterey County. Note the relatively heavy bill, long supercilium, entirely dark lores, and creamy-white wing bars (1995-106; Allen Spaulding).









Arctic Warbler

ARCTIC WARBLER Phylloscopus borealis (Blasius, 1858)

Accepted: 3 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: yes

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Large color image: see Figure

This warbler breeds commonly across northern Eurasia, from northern Norway east to northeastern Siberia (P. b. borealis) and in Kamchatka and Japan (P. b. xanthodryas, the largest subspecies). A third subspecies, P. b. kennicotti, breeds extensively in western and central Alaska. Canada’s two records, both in summer, come from the Northwest Territories (borealis, Godfrey 1986) and northern Yukon (Sinclair et al. 2003). The species is highly migratory, and its winter range, which includes parts of Southeast Asia, the East Indies, and the Philippines, is much smaller than its breeding range. Jantunen (2003) reviewed the species’ identification and incidences of vagrancy in the New World. Examples of vagrant xanthodryas have been collected in western Alaska (Gibson and Kessel 1997), and borealis has been recorded once on St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea (Winker et al. 2002). This species is a rare vagrant in the Western Palearctic away from breeding areas, occurring mainly from mid August to mid October (Vinicombe and Cottridge 1996). A fall vagrant was recorded on 12 October 1991 in northwestern Baja California Sur (Pyle and Howell 1993).

California’s first Arctic Warbler was a first-fall bird captured, measured, and photographed on 13 September 1995 at the mouth of the Big Sur River in Monterey County (Garrett and Singer 1998; Figure 264). Species in the genus Phylloscopus are notoriously difficult to identify, and Paul J. Leader, an expert on the identification of Asian Phylloscopus warblers (Leader 1993, 1995), provided an analysis of photographs that facilitated the Committee’s review of the first record. Despite in-hand data, the CBRC could not reach a consensus on the subspecies involved. The four Arctic Warbler records from California and the Baja California Peninsula fall between 7 September and 12 October; see also Appendix H.


[BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica (Linnaeus, 1758) – see hypothetical section]

TAIGA FLYCATCHER Ficedula albicilla (Pallas, 1811) – see Appendix H