Pale-legged Leaf Warbler: new to Britain

Published on 04 August 2018 in Main articles

By John Headon, Martin Collinson and Martin Cade

Abstract A Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes was discovered dead after hitting a window at the lighthouse on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, on 21st October 2016. Feathers taken from the bird were sent for DNA analysis, which confirmed the bird to be a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and eliminated the morphologically similar Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. borealoides. An earlier record of one of this species pair from Portland, Dorset, on 22nd October 2012 concerned a bird photographed and seen well by several observers, but it was not possible to establish which species was involved. Full details of both sightings are described here. This is the first record of Pale-legged Leaf Warbler for Britain and the Western Palearctic, and the species has been added to Category A of the British List.

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Pale-legged Leaf Phylloscopus tenellipes or Sakhalin Leaf Warbler P. borealoides, Portland, Dorset, October 2012. Pete Saunders