Sylvia melanocephala

The sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala is a species of passerine bird in the family Sylviidae that measures about 13 cm in length.

The iris of the eyes is brown or brown and is framed by a reddish or salmon-pink eye ring in adults, and a more pinkish-brown tone in young people.

The males have a black head from the beak and below the eyes that contrasts with the white color of the throat and lower part of the cheeks. The back is dark gray, so that the back and back of the wings can be described as a slate gray or dark ash tone, with a very slight brownish tint that we can only see if we hold this warbler in our hands since it is invaluable when perched or in flight. The chest and belly are white. The sides of the breast and flanks are gray. The tail is very dark, practically black, with gray stripes and the white of the outer pair of rectrices standing out a lot. The primary and secondary wing feathers are blackish brown.

Females have much duller or more discolored plumage compared to the male. The head practically has the same grayish brown color as the rest of the upper parts without producing the hooded impression that the male presents. The throat and belly are white. The outer edges of the tail are more grayish but clear, almost white.

It lives in thick Mediterranean bushes, frequently present in thorns, cork oaks, mastic trees, palmettos, juniper forests, holm oaks, or pine forests, but always with undergrowth. It also occupies gardens and groves or groups of trees near homes, whether decorative or cultivated. It is common in areas of brambles and weeds, orchards, banks of river courses, dry fruit orchards, and even suburban areas. They move among bushes and weeds at low altitudes where they like to live and sniff, but they can also be observed in trees. It can rarely be seen flying long distances and more often it spends its time moving among the low branches of bushes and bushes, incessant in its busy life. It breeds in tall bushes, in open wooded terrain with dense thickets, although it also breeds in vegetation that barely reaches the waist. It nests in bushes, generally at a fairly low height.

It is an essentially sedentary bird, although it can actually be said that it makes some post-nuptial or winter movements.

In Spain it is a nesting species, continuously occupying the entire Mediterranean coast and the southern half where it has a permanent presence, but it is also located in many points of the northern half, appearing in this way and in isolation in the Duero River basin, being discontinuous in that of the Ebro. In Galicia it permanently occupies the coast of Pontevedra, some areas of the coast of La Coruña and the Miño river basin. As a nester, it is present in all the Spanish autonomous communities except Asturias. As for the Spanish islands, they occupy both the Balearic Islands and the Canary archipelago where it is widely distributed.

It feeds mainly on insects, with a predilection for Orthoptera, Hemiptera and Lepidoptera larvae, although it also ingests spiders, among others. But in addition, the sardinian warbler likes different types of fruits, such as figs, grapes, the different wild fruits that it finds on its way, or for example grass seeds. The sardinian warbler usually sings even during determined flight. , has a long harsh but pleasant voice that often sustains in the form of angry chatter or interrupts emitting a musical and variable melody. When the warbler is alarmed, it emits an accelerated and threatening tri-tri-tri-tri in a low, hoarse tone. It is also common to hear other sounds, probably angry, such as sirsirsirsir or stictictictic..

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