Eastern Orphean Warbler added to BOU's British list


The British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (BOURC) has added Eastern Orphean Warbler to its British list, following a well watched and photographed bird on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, in October 2017.

The bird, a first-calendar-year, favoured dense Pittosporum hedgerows in the Troy Town area of St Agnes from 12-17 October. It naturally proved elusive in the field, giving limited and often distant views to observers, and was reported as a likely Western Orphean Warbler for much of its stay. An account of the bird's discovery, written by co-finder Neil Wright, can be read here.

It was correctly identified thanks to photographs taken by Adrian Webb and Jim Almond, which not only revealed chevrons on the undertail coverts, which are a crucial identification feature for Eastern Orphean, but also a grey inner web extending along the inner web of the outermost tail feather, creating a Blyth's Pipit-like wide white 'wedge' on the shaft. This pattern is, according to Lars Svensson, diagnostic of Eastern.

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The Eastern Orphean Warbler generally gave distant and brief views, making identification a challenging process (Adrian Webb).

Eastern Orphean Warbler breeds from south-east Europe to central Asia, migrating to winter in north-east Africa to the southern Arabian Peninsula, south Iran, south Pakistan and India.

The BOU's British list now stands at 617 species (Category A = 599; Category B = 8; Category C = 10).