Bush-warblers (or bush warblers) are small insectivorous songbirds belonging to the genera Cettia, Horornis, and Bradypterus. They were formerly placed in the "wastebin" Old World warbler family. Neither genus as traditionally delimited is believed to be monophyletic.[1]

Due to their external similarity convergently acquired by strong selective pressures due to the identical habitat, they were occasionally believed to be close relatives. However, they belong to two well-distant families in the Sylvioidea, the "warbler-and-babbler" superfamily:

Cettia diphone (crying)
The Japanese bush-warbler (Horornis diphone) probably belongs in a different genus.


  1. ^ a b c d Alström et al. (2006)


  • Alström, P.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Olsson, U. & Sundberg, P. (2006): Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 38(2): 381–397. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.05.015 PMID 16054402 PDF fulltext
Aberrant bush warbler

The aberrant bush warbler (Horornis flavolivaceus) is a species of bush warbler (family Cettiidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found in central and southern China, and the northern extremes of Myanmar and Vietnam. It occurs in the countries of Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam and also may occur in north-eastern and south-eastern Bangladesh.

Bougainville bush warbler

The Bougainville bush warbler or odedi (Horornis haddeni) is a bird species initially placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage, but nowadays moved with its congeners to the new cettiid warbler family.

It was described as new to science in 2006. This bird is only known from the Crown Prince Range on Bougainville Island in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea.Its status was first evaluated for the IUCN Red List in 2008, being listed as near threatened.

Brown-flanked bush warbler

The brown-flanked bush warbler (Horornis fortipes), also known as the brownish-flanked bush warbler, is a species of bush-warbler belonging to the Cettiidae family. It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage. It is found in South Asia.

Cetti's warbler

Cetti's warbler , Cettia cetti, is an Old World warbler. It is a small, brown bush-warbler which breeds in southern and central Europe, north-west Africa and east southern temperate Asia as far as Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan. The bird is named after the 18th century Italian zoologist, Francesco Cetti. This species is very difficult to see because of its skulking habits.


Cettiidae is a newly validated family of small insectivorous songbirds ("warblers"), formerly placed in the Old World warbler "wastebin" assemblage. It contains the typical bush warblers (Cettia) and their relatives. As a common name, cettiid warblers is usually used.Its members occur mainly in Asia and Africa, ranging into Oceania and Europe. The tit hylia Pholidornis and green hylia (Hylia) are exclusively found in the forests of Africa. The pseudo-tailorbirds, tesias and stubtails, as well as Tickellia and Abroscopus warblers are mostly found in the forests of south and southeastern Asia, with one species reaching as far north as Japan and Siberia. The genus Cettia has the widest distribution of the family, reaching from Western Europe across Asia to the Pacific islands of Fiji and Palau. Most of the species in the genus are sedentary, but the Asian stubtail is wholly migratory and the Japanese bush warbler and Cetti's warbler are partly migratory over much of their range. A few species, such as the pale-footed bush warbler, are altitudinal migrants.

The species are small, stubby birds. Most have moderately long to long tails, while the stubtails and tesias have tiny tails that do not even emerge past their tail retrices. The group is typically clad in dull plumage, often with a line above the eye. Altogether the Cettiidae are a quite variable group containing many aberrant birds that hitherto had been uncomfortably placed with a wide range of unrelated families. The Megaluridae which contain birds which appear very similar to many cettiids are far more uniform by contrast.Most live in scrubland and frequently hunt food by clambering through thick tangled growth.

Among the "warbler and babbler" superfamily Sylvioidea, the Cettiidae represent an ancient lineage. As a group, they are probably closest to the Aegithalidae, the long-tailed tits and relatives.

Chestnut-crowned bush warbler

The chestnut-crowned bush warbler (Cettia major) is a species of warbler found in South Asia.

Although overall population size has not been quantified, this is one of the species that is declining due to habitat destruction. Although its population trend is observed to be decreasing, its decline is not happening in rapid fashion. For this reason, this is evaluated as least concern species.

Fiji bush warbler

The Fiji bush warbler (Horornis ruficapilla) is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is endemic to the islands of Fiji. There are four subspecies occurring on all the main islands of the group. The species has been afforded its own genus, Vitia, in the past, but similarities of egg colour, song and morphology place it firmly within the Horornis bush-warblers.

Grass warbler

The grass warblers are small passerine birds belonging to the genus Locustella. Formerly placed in the paraphyletic "Old World warbler" assemblage, they are now considered the northernmost representatives of a largely Gondwanan family, the Locustellidae. The genus name Locustella is from Latin and is a diminutive of locusta, "grasshopper". Like the English name, this refers to the insect-like song of some species.These are rather drab brownish "warblers" usually associated with fairly open grassland, shrubs or marshes. Some are streaked, others plain, all are difficult to view. They are insectivorous.

The most characteristic feature of this group is that the song of several species is a mechanical insect-like reeling which gives rise to the group's scientific name.

Species breeding in temperate regions are strongly migratory.

The species are:

Russet bush warbler, Locustella mandelli

Dalat bush warbler, Locustella idonea

Sichuan bush warbler, Locustella chengi

Javan bush warbler, Locustella montis

Taiwan bush warbler, Locustella alishanensis

Bamboo warbler, Locustella alfredi

West Himalayan bush warbler, Locustella kashmirensis

Spotted bush warbler, Locustella thoracica

Baikal bush warbler, Locustella davidi

Chestnut-backed bush warbler, Locustella castanea

Long-tailed bush warbler, Locustella caudata

Long-billed bush warbler, Locustella major

Chinese bush warbler, Locustella tacsanowskia

Brown bush warbler, Locustella luteoventris

Benguet bush warbler, Locustella seebohmi

Friendly bush warbler, Locustella accentor

Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinoides

Lanceolated warbler, Locustella lanceolata

River warbler Locustella fluviatilis

Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia

A fossil acrocoracoid from the Late Miocene (about 11 mya) of Rudabánya (NE Hungary) is quite similar to this bone in the present genus. Given its rather early age (most Passerida genera are not known until the Pliocene), it is not too certain that it is correctly placed here, but it is highly likely to belong to the Locustellidae, or the Sylvioidea at the least. As the grasshopper warblers are the only known locustellid warblers from Europe, it is still fairly likely that the bone piece belongs to a basal Locustella.

Grey-sided bush warbler

The grey-sided bush warbler (Cettia brunnifrons) is a species of bush warbler (family Cettiidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found from northern Pakistan to central China.

Hume's bush warbler

Hume's bush warbler (Horornis brunnescens) is a species of bush warbler (family Cettiidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found in the Himalayas of Nepal and India.

It is formerly considered conspecific with the yellow-bellied bush warbler.

The name commemorates the British naturalist Allan Octavian Hume who worked in India.

Japanese bush warbler

The Japanese bush warbler (Horornis diphone), known in Japanese as uguisu (鶯), is an Asian passerine bird more often heard than seen. Its distinctive breeding call can be heard throughout much of Japan from the start of spring.

Little rush warbler

The little rush warbler or African bush warbler (Bradypterus baboecala) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.

Manchurian bush warbler

The Manchurian bush warbler (Horornis canturians), also known as Korean bush warbler, is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is found in northeastern China.

The estimated distribution size is reported to be a large range – approximately 1,610,000 km2. Although the global population has not been measured, the population trend appears to be stable. Because of this, the Manchurian bush warbler is evaluated as a least concern species.

Palau bush warbler

The Palau bush warbler (Horornis annae) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Cettiidae.

It is found only in Palau.

Philippine bush warbler

The Philippine bush warbler (Horornis seebohmi) is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is found only in the Philippines.

Shade bush warbler

The shade bush warbler or shade warbler (Horornis parens) is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is found only in Solomon Islands, where it is endemic to the island of Makira (formerly San Cristobal Island).

Its natural habitats are tropical moist lowland forests and tropical moist montane forest above 600m. It feeds on insects in the undergrowth and on the ground.

Sunda bush warbler

The Sunda bush warbler (Horornis vulcanius) is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Tanimbar bush warbler

The Tanimbar bush warbler (Horornis carolinae) is a species of bird in the family Cettiidae.

It is found in Yamdena.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Yellow-bellied bush warbler

The yellow-bellied bush warbler (Horornis acanthizoides), also known as the yellowish-bellied bush warbler, is a species of bush warbler (family Sylviidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found on mainland China and Taiwan. Hume's bush warbler was formerly considered conspecific.

Genera and members of the Cettiidae family


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